Staffordshire Smart Alerts

Warning issued as distraction burglary attempts likely to rise during Covid-19 lockdown

17/04/2020

Staffordshire Police are warning people to be extra vigilant if they get an unexpected caller to their home during the current government lockdown.

A distraction burglary is where someone calls at your home posing to be someone they’re not – normally an official or council worker. They then make up a story to get into your home.

It’s predicted that the number of these bogus or distraction offences are likely to be on the rise over the coming weeks given that more elderly and vulnerable people are now isolated at home across the county.

Superintendent Tom Chisholm from Staffordshire Police, said: “We are asking people to be vigilant if they are approached at their home by anyone offering trade services or claiming to be from an organisation. Always ask for identification and if you are not expecting anyone and they don’t have an appointment do not let them into your home.

“Ensure all valuables and money are kept in a safe location. Local residents are encouraged to contact the police immediately if they have any suspicions about doorstep callers.”

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 site 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 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

 

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