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Beware of Bogus Callers

Aug 17, 2007
There are around 12,000 cases of "distraction burglarly" committed by bogus callers each year. These type of crimes involve someone simply distracting the homeowner whilst another person breaks in to steal items from the home. Bogus callers have also been known to gain access to a property and then rob it themselves. It is more sad to consider that most victims of bogus callers and distraction burglaries are elderly people who are too trusting and unable to always fight back. Despite the eldery being the most frequently targetted victims it is important that all of us take the necessary steps to avoid becoming a victim of such crimes.

The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim of a distraction crime or a bogus caller is to not let anyone who you don't know into your house. In fact, you could go as far as to not open the door to anyone who don't know. If your doorbell rings or there is a knock which is not unexpected then try to see who it is before opening your door. If you have a window near your door then use this to look who it is and perhaps open it slightly to speak to the person to establish the purpose of their visit.

If you have a viewer on your front door then use it. If the person at the door attempts to conceal the viewer in any way then do not open the door. If you do not recogise the caller then you could talk to them through the closed door or if you have a chain or door bar attached then use this to find out who they are and what they want.

If you have a back door, patio door or windows that are open at the back of your house then make sure that these are closed before opening the front door to unexpected visitors. In the event of a distraction burglarly, one person will talk to the houseowner at the front door, and whilst they are distracted another person may gain entry via the back of the house in order to rob you.

Unexpected callers at the door may claim to be from the council, the electricity or gas board, or selling something. If they claim to be from any kind of official organisation then they will have official identification. Ask them to show it to you and if in any doubt take it inside (with the front door shut) to look closer and perhaps to call the organisation in question to ensure that they are who they say they are. Never call the number given on the card itself as this may be false too. Use a number from the phone book or on any kind of documentation that you may have from the said organisation. If the person does not have any identification or is unwilling to let you look at it closely then do not give them access to your property and instead inform the organisation they claim to be representing and your local police.

Should you wish to not have unsolictored calls from sales people then you can request a sticker or sign from your local police station or simply make your own that states you are not interested in whatever it is that they are selling.

Although very rare, you may get a caller claiming they need help because their car has broken down or they are in some kind of danger. You should be very careful in such situations as the natural tendency to want to help may see you drop your guard. If you do not know the person at the door then you should not let them enter your house. You could point them in the direction of the local police station, shopping centre or anywhere else where they can find a payphone or someone who can assist them. If this is not possible then you consider phoning someone on their behalf but without admitting them to your house.

If you are ever concerned about an unexpected caller, especially one who seems persistent in their need to get into your house then you should deny them access to your house and raise the alarm as soon as possible. Either contact a neighbour, friend or relative nearby that can get round quickly or in extreme circumstances consider calling your local police.

As a general rule always use whatever security measures you have when opening the door to unexpected callers and never open the door to them until you are sure that they are genuine.
About the Author
Home Secured discusses home security options for all households regardless of what type of property you live in. Find out more about securing your home to keep you, your family and your possessions safe at http://www.home-secured.com .
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