Distraction Burglary is a form of crime where criminals approach you at your doorstep, trying to gain access to your home by posing an emergency. Such offenders, also known as “bogus callers” or “distraction burglars”, often come in disguise and try to trick you to get into your premises.
How do these burglars operate?
These people may be anyone, male or female, young or old, working independently or in a gang. They plan to gain access to your house in some way by either posing as a supplier or an official or someone in need of your support. They will convince you to believe them by constructing a hypothetical scenario.
Their motive is to get access to your home by faking their identity and stealing all of the valuables. They often seem to target the elderly and vulnerable.
You should be wary of these people because they can trick you with fake paperwork and identity cards.
Best is not to respond to these people and let them remain outside your premise. Don’t entertain them by opening your doors.
Some common identities used by the burglars to disguise themselves.
- A police officer
- An agent from a gas or water company
- A door to door salesperson
- Someone from Charity
- Someone who needs your urgent help
- A council worker
- A builder or a gardener
How to Prevent a Distraction Burglary?
1. Don’t allow any stranger in your house
Don’t permit anyone into your home unless you have arranged an appointment with one of your suppliers and expect someone to be there. To tackle these problems, follow the steps below.
- Lock- All doors should always be locked.
- Stop- Don’t open the door right away.
- Chain- Use the door chain or spy hole
- Check- Don’t open the door if not recognised.
2. Call for help if you suspect the visitor
Call your neighbours or any friends who are staying nearby until you open the door.
3. Check their IDs
Remember always first to ask their IDs to check whether they’re real or fake. You can either use the phone book or the bills to find the contact information of the respective supplier and check that someone has been sent. Please don’t refer to the number provided by them, as it might be a trap.
Often these callers are real, and unlike fake callers, they’re going to be able to wait outside and never be in a rush or place you in a high-pressure situation if someone pretends to be a police officer, dial 999 and cross-check immediately.
4. Lock all the doors and windows
Make sure all the doors are locked properly because these criminals also operate in groups where one of them will try to get in from the back door, and another will keep you occupied through the front door
5. Hide your valuables
Please don’t keep a huge amount of cash at home; you can keep it safe at your nearest branch. Keep your valuables safe, too.
6. Find Support
You can register with local Neighbourhood Schemes that help you live a safer life and fight crimes in your area.
7. Call Police
If you think a fake caller has just approached you, don’t open the door and dial 999 immediately.
Following is a list of contacts that you can use when you encounter bogus or fake callers at your doorstep.
- Consumer Direct – Consumer Direct, now run by Citizens Advice, a service introduced by the government to offer basic consumer advice to the public. They can be reached on 03454040506 about trader contact queries.
- Energy suppliers – With PSR (Priority Service Register), you can set your gas and electricity suppliers password each time they visit your home for any service call. PSR is an autonomous, free service offered by every supplier. To get registered, you may contact your respective supplier.
- Water suppliers – Contact the water supplier to check if the person pretending to be from that business is real via the telephone directory or the contact details on your bill.
- Local Police – Call 999 if you feel suspicious of someone who has approached you at your doorstep.
- Victim Support – If you have been a victim of distraction burglary, you have an opportunity to get in contact with Victim Support. The police usually exchange the information, and someone from the group gets in touch with you to provide support. They can also be contacted on their free support line 08 08 16 89 111.
- Neighbourhood Watch Network – Find your Neighbourhood Watch Network scheme based on your area or get in touch with them on 0116 402 6111.
Distraction burglary is a common crime, and often people fall for it. Even if you are taking enough measures, sometimes it is difficult to figure out the intentions of these burglars in the first place as they are trained professionals.
This is where we always recommend our customers to go with a home security system for added protection. Burglars usually avoid targeting properties with a security system.
We are a home security company offering a wide range of security systems- burglar alarms, CCTV and smart security alarms. If you are looking to get a home security system for your property, give us a call on 020 3137 8727 or 0800 193 8727, and one of our experts can help you with your requirements.