As the nights are drawing in the Police are warning of an increased risk of distraction burglaries. Distraction burglars normally work in pairs. Their aim is to distract you and trick their way into your home to steal your money or valuables.
They may call at your door posing as officials, claiming to be from the city council, police, market researchers, health carers, gas, water, electricity, phone or TV companies. Others may try a tactic of taking advantage of your good nature by saying they are collecting for charity, or they need something from your house such as water for their car, a pen and paper to leave a note for a neighbour, they want to retrieve a ball that has gone in your garden, or need to use your phone.
They can also use a tactic of feigning urgency and panic – a typical ploy is where they say something like “we’re from the Water Board; there is a burst pipe in the street, and we need to come in and switch your water off immediately.”
The top six utility companies British Gas, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power, EDF and SSE no longer cold-call therefore if someone claims to be from one of these, if they are genuine, they will have made a prior appointment.
Tips to keep safe
The message is simple, if in doubt, keep them out.
1. LOCK – always keep your front and back doors locked, even when
2. STOP – are you expecting anyone?
3. CHAIN – if you decide to open the door, put the chain on first
4. CHECK – ask for the caller’s ID and check it by phone
If you are alone, telephone a neighbour, or a nearby friend, and ask them to come along to help check out the caller before you open the door to them.
Insist on checking the identity of the caller. If they are genuine, they will not mind waiting or returning later. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller as they may be bogus.
Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank or post office where it is safe.
Remember, it is not rude to refuse letting a stranger into your home.
If you feel threatened by a caller, always ring 999 immediately. If you have had an unpleasant incident and want to report it later, please do so by telephoning 101.