DETROIT – A thief posing as a DTE worker stole more than $50,000 worth of jewelry from a 95-year-old woman in Madison Heights.
The company said this type of incident is happening all over Metro Detroit.
“We get very concerned when customers contact us to say that someone is at their door, claiming to be a DTE employee, when they’re really not,” said Chris Lamphear, manager of corporate communications with DTE Energy.
Lamphear said they’re seeing more and more of an individual claiming to be a worker stealing from the elderly.
That’s what happened on April 20 to 95-year-old Charlotte Gresiak in Madison Heights. A man claimed to be a worker and he even wore a worker’s vest, showing up to her house. Gresiak let him in and said he stole the jewelry that her late husband gave her.
“I had all of my good jewelry in there and other kind of jewelry was in there. It was so many things that my husband bought me. It was about six or more, rings there, very expensive ones,” Gresiak said.
Lamphear said he wanted to share tips with customers to keep them from becoming a victim.
“When someone shows up claiming to be a DTE employee, you need to ask to see their badge. If somebody at your door is agitated when you ask to see that badge or claim they don’t have it on them, shut the door and contact DTE at 800-477-4747,” he said. “Typically, when you have somebody from DTE at your home, that person will arrive in a clearly marked DTE vehicle.”
The man at Gresiak’s home was seen driving a dark-colored car.
Lamphear said to ask questions.
“Ask to see what are the reasons for the visit. Sometimes, we’re hearing these imposters say ‘I need immediate payment from you,’ or ‘We’re going to shut you off.’ That’s typically something we don’t do,” he said.
DTE said the scammers are demanding customers to pay them with Bitcoins or gift cards, which the company said they will never ask for.