While most callers to your home are genuine, some are not. Some unscrupulous people, known as ‘bogus callers’ or ‘distraction burglars’, may try to trick their way inside to steal cash or valuables.
Actions you can take to avoid doorstep crime
Spotting bogus officials
Bear the following in mind if you suspect that an ‘official’ caller may not be genuine:
- Bogus callers often pretend to be from ‘the water board’ but do not let them in – there hasn’t been a ‘water board’ for more than thirty years
- Water company employees may need to call at your door unannounced but genuine representatives will be wearing a uniform, carrying a company identity card and driving a branded vehicle
- All genuine utility company officials would expect you to check their identity and won’t mind waiting while you do so
- If you have any doubts, don’t let the caller in. Telephone the company to confirm they are genuine. Use a number from a utility bill and not one the caller gives you
- Set up a password system with your utility providers. This is a free service.
Bogus workmen can be very persistent in persuading you that urgent work needs to be carried out on your property. Our advice is:
Never agree to have work done by someone who turns up on your doorstep. Say no.
If you home is in need of repair, use reputable workmen recommended by family and friends.
Other bogus callers
- Be wary of people who knock on your door asking for a drink, looking for lost pets or asking to use your telephone
- Be cautious of unfamiliar youngsters saying their ball is in your garden They may be attempting gain access to your home or trying to distract you.
Help the vulnerable
Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours including the elderly and report any suspicions of bogus callers to police.
Follow these steps to ensure your safety:
- Fit a door chain
- Keep front and back doors locked, even when you are home
- Do not leave money, wallets and keys in easy reach of doors
- Lock your back door before opening your front door. Thieves sometime operate in pairs, one ringing the front door while the other enters at the back of the house
- Before answering the door, stop and think ‘am I expecting anyone?’ Look through a spy hole or window to see who's there
- If you decide to open the door, use the door chain
- Never leave the front door open, close it if you need to go back into another room for any reason
- Check the callers identity
- If in doubt, keep them out!