Police officers in Northamptonshire are urging the public to beware of cold callers as summer approaches and the days get longer.
Distraction burglars often target the elderly and trick their way into people’s houses by pretending to be something they’re not – water board employees and police officers being common disguises.
Once inside, they distract the homeowner in order to steal from them.
Detective Sergeant Terry Rush from Northamptonshire Police’s Burglary Team, said: “Distraction burglars can be very convincing and will use a number of tactics to trick their way into people’s houses.
“They often target elderly people so I would strongly encourage people to speak to their elderly relatives about this type of scam and ask them not to open the door to people they’re not expecting.
“Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.”
Talk to elderly relatives and friends about tactics used by distraction burglars or rogue traders.
Display a no cold calling sticker on the front window or door of your house – available from [email protected]
Keep front and back doors locked even when at home
Before answering the door, use the door viewer or nearby window to see who is there
Fit a door chain or bar – use it when dealing with callers at the door
Don’t feel embarrassed - genuine callers expect you to be careful
Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine
Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company direct to verify their identity and do not phone numbers provided on ID cards
Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility providers if this can be put in place and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it
Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door
Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home
Most importantly - If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door. If in doubt, keep them out.