Bogus Callers and Distraction Burglars
Based on helpful advice from e-cops
Most people who call at your home will be genuine, but sometimes people turn up unannounced, with the intention of tricking their way into people's homes. they are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers', whose only aim is to get into homes to distract people and steal their money or valuables. You should always be aware when someone you don't know calls at your door. By using the following advice, you can protect yourself and vulnerable members of your family.
Bogus callers may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the police, the council, health organisations or gas, water or electric companies. They can be very convincing and persuasive. They may be men, women or even children using excuses from wanting a drink of water to looking for a lost pet, people may use any story. They often use 'props' like an identity card or wear overalls with a company logo. If you are in any doubt, keep them out!
If you are expecting the caller, remember to check their identification very carefully against the letter you have been sent before you let them in. Any official visitors should always arrange an appointment beforehand.
If you are not expecting them and are alone, ask them to call back when you know you will have someone with you.
LOCK - Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home.
STOP - Before you answer the door, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check that you have locked any back door and taken the key out. Look through the spyhole or the window to see who it is.
CHAIN - If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first.
(normally, when the door is shut and locked, leave the bar or chain off in case you need to get out in an emergency.)
CHECK - Check their details, ask for and carefully check their identity card before you let them into your house.
Bogus callers can also turn up as builders or gardeners and try to trick you into paying for unnecessary work. You should never agree to having work done by someone who is just passing, or take their word that work needs to be done at all.
Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry an identity card with a photograph. They won't mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity or if you want to rearrange an appointment for when somebody else is home.
Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs or even teams. They are often well organised. One will distract the person while the other searches the house for money or other valuables. Do not keep large amounts of money in your home!
If you think a bogus caller has called at your door, report it to us immediately, try to give us a description of the person/s and inform Neighbours in case they try other homes.
If you haven't already got a door chain or bar fitted you should think about getting one. A door bar only costs a few pounds and is easier than a chain. These act as useful barriers when talking to an unexpected caller, it is a worthwhile investment.
The gas, water and electricity companies now have a password system for older and vulnerable customers. Customers give the company a word which is confidential to them and the company. when their representative calls, they will be expected to tell the customer the password and prove they are genuine.
Remember though most callers to your home will be genuine.
For other villagers
Be alert for strange vehicles parked during the day in your neighbourhood, or for people calling from house to house or to a few selected houses. Sometimes these thieves will park up discretely away from any houses and walk round the neighbourhood selecting targets, and they can be very skilled at spotting the homes of the elderly or vulnerable. Most people will park as close as they can to the place they are visiting, but not so if you don't want anyone to be able to link your vehicle with the scene of a burglary. Make a note of vehicles and their index numbers that you don't recognise - if this can be later linked to reports of bogus callers in the village then this could give the police a chance to detect the offenders.