Be aware of distraction burglars and suspicious callers at the door
Main article content
Officers would like to remind residents of how they can protect themselves from distraction burglars and bogus officials after recent incidents in Lichfield and Rugeley.
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 cold call at your front door.
A distraction burglary or bogus caller is where someone calls at your home posing as someone they’re not – often as an official or council worker. They then make up a story to get into your home in order to steal goods or cash.
In both recent reports, two women, claiming to be collecting for a charity, have tricked their way into homes by asking to use the bathroom. Once inside, one of them distracts the victim, whilst the other searches for valuables to take.
We have also received similar reports of two women acting suspiciously in Stafford.
An investigation is underway as we urge residents to follow this advice and share with any vulnerable neighbours or friends:
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 – 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 or buy something from 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.
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.
Chief Inspector Laura Morrey, said: “Please advise elderly and vulnerable neighbours to follow the STOP, CHAIN, CHECK rule when people call at the door.”
STOP – If you are not expecting anybody and they don’t have an appointment, don’t let them in. CHAIN – Use your door chain or bar before opening the door CHECK – Ask to see ID and double check this.
She added: “If you are ever suspicious or have any doubts please do not let people into your property.
“We would like to reassure the community that we are investigating the recent reports with local officers carrying out a number of enquiries. We have also increased police patrols in the area.
“To report any suspicious incidents or if you have any information, please message the force on social media or call 101 to pass on the details. In an emergency, always dial 999.”