Distraction burglaries occur when a bogus caller intends to trick an occupier to allow them into the property, or to create a diversion so an accomplice can sneak in.
These criminals will say or do anything to gain entry to your home. Common ruses include the pretence that the caller is a local official or utility representative who has come to deal with an ’emergency.’ The conman will keep you talking at the door or in a room in your property while his accomplice will enter the house and search for valuables. Unfortunately, elderly and vulnerable residents are most likely to be a victim of these crimes.
Rogue trading and distraction burglary often go hand in hand. In December 2014 a Solihull resident, a lone female in her 80s, was cold called by rogue roofers who carried out minimal and unnecessary work at a cost of £1,200. No paperwork or company details were left. Several days later the lady was burgled whilst out shopping.
Simple precautions to stop these crimes include:
– Do not open the door to anyone before you have checked who it is – look out of the window or use a spy hole in the door.
– IF you open the door, keep the chain on while finding out who is calling.
– Confirm the identity and purpose of the visit by calling the appropriate people – utitlity company or local authority, for example. You can set up passwords with your utility companies which their representatives will quote when they visit you.
– If you are unsure, ask a neighbour or friend who you trust to help you.
– Legitimate callers will NOT mind waiting while you take precautions to validate their identity.
– Call the police IMMEDIATELY if you feel threatened
If you or family/friends are are affected by or have information about a rogue trader please call us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06