Protect yourselves and homes from distraction burglars and bogus officials after reports of incidents
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Officers would like to remind Staffordshire residents of how they can protect themselves from distraction burglars and bogus officials after reports of incidents along the border with West Midlands Police.
Asking to see identification, listening to any doubts in your mind and not letting anybody into your property you are unsure about are the main ways to stay safe from this type of crime often instigated either by a phone call or a cold call at your front door.
A distraction burglary and/or bogus caller is where someone calls at your home posing as someone they’re not – normally an official or council worker. They then make up a story to get into your home.
To prevent yourself from falling victim to these criminals we ask that you listen to the following advice:
- Make sure your front and back doors are locked at all times – even when you’re at home. If you’re answering the front door then make extra sure your back door is locked – as criminals could be working in pairs or groups.
- Before you answer the door it’s worth taking a second to think about whether you’re expecting anyone – if you can see who’s there before answering make sure you do.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you into letting themselves inside your house – even during lockdown call a neighbour or police to help if you’re uncomfortable.
- Public service employees and officials are required to show identification when they come to your home – make sure you take time to look at it carefully and check it isn’t fake. If in doubt – call the number on a utility bill or an official website and ask for confirmation. Any genuine worker will not mind waiting.
- If you have a chain on your door – use it. Don’t remove it unless you’re absolutely certain that person is genuine.
- Never agree to have work done by someone passing by – even if they seem legitimate.
- Put signs up saying you aren’t interested in receiving cold callers to reduce the number of unexpected callers at your door.
- Tighten up security – focus on improving the protection given by doors, windows and fences to make it harder for anyone trying to break in.
- Keep all valuable items out of sight and, if possible, in a safe – if anyone does manage to get in safely stored items will make it much harder for them to find and take.
Staffordshire Police Sergeant Gary Harborow said: “We urge all residents to always ask to see identification from anybody knocking at their door claiming to be from an organisation.
“If you are ever suspicious or have any doubts please do not let people into your property. Close the door and ring the organisation to find out whether the person was genuine or not.
“To report any suspicious incidents such as this please message the force on social media or call 101 to pass on the details. In an emergency, always dial 999.”