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Bogus callers and distraction burglary

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Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes, people turn up unannounced, with the intention of tricking their way into your home. They are known as ‘bogus callers’ or ‘distraction burglars’, whose only aim is to get into your home by distracting you to steal money or valuables.

Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs or even teams and are often well organised. One will distract you while the other searches the house for money or other valuables. They can be men, women or children (or often a combination). Watch out for anyone who says they are in a hurry. Don’t let them pressure or confuse you.

Bogus callers may pose as water, electricity or gasboard workers, council workers or even police officers. Always ask the caller for their identification, and check it, before letting them in.

Use the phone number in the phone book, not the one on their identity card. Remember, a genuine caller will happily wait outside while you check on them by calling their organisation and or calling a family member or neighbour.

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this crime, remember the following four steps:

  • Lock all doors – even when you are at home
  • Stop before you open the door, ask them who they are
  • Chain – always use a door chain or spy hole
  • Check – Not sure who they are? Don’t open the door!

Advice

  • You could put a ‘no cold callers’ sign up on your door or window, which should deter any cold callers from knocking on your door.
  • If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it! Follow the Lock, Stop, Chain and Check advice.
    Telephone a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the caller before you open the door to them.
  • Some areas in the country have Neighbourhood Watch or Nominated Neighbour Schemes you can sign up to. Check with your local police team to find out if there is one in your area.
  • Many utility service providers like gas, electricity and water, provide password schemes or hotline numbers for customers to call so you can check the identity of callers before opening the door. Speak to your utility provider for more details and set up a password today.
  • Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank or post office where it is safe.
  • Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times, even when you’re at home. Always keep your door chain on.
  • If somebody asks for your help, needs to make a telephone call, needs a drink or requests a pen and paper for example, assist them through a closed door, or call a friend or neighbour to come and assist.