In the midst of Iowa’s big winter weather emergency, power companies are concerned about reports that some fakers might be pretending to work for the utilities. Alliant Energy spokesman Ryan Stensland says there have been reports of people knocking on doors and ordering people to leave their homes and stay out for a week, until repairs are done.

Any time you wonder about a line worker or other person in your neighborhood, he says you should know there’s no doubt. He says they’ll have official company identification, a security I.D. that shows they’re an employee of the electric company or one of the contract workers called in during this storm restoration effort.

If you feel odd about activity in your area, you can call 1-800-ALLIANT, and the company’s operators can verify if they’re working around there and will take down your information. If it doesn’t add up and your suspicions continue, he says you can always call your local law-enforcement authorities.

Be looking around for suspicious activity — in fact, check on your neighbors’ properties as well. "It doesn’t hurt to drive by," Stensland says, "and just see that everything’s okay." He says especially if you have some neighbors who’ve been without power for a week or so, it doesn’t hurt to check on them and make sure everything’s okay.

The power-company trucks are parked along roadsides both in town and out on the country roads, and Stensland says the workers report that some motorists aren’t slowing down when they go zooming down the road. Crew members are crossing the roads as they work to string new lines and repair the poles. There’s a lot of activity around the utility trucks, and while it’d be best if drivers stayed way he says they’d appreciate at least slowing down. "If you give them just a minute to finish up what they’re working on, they will definitely get out of your way."