Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes, people turn up unannounced, with the intention of conning their way into people’s homes. They are known as ‘distraction burglars’ or ‘bogus callers’.
Their only aim is to get into homes to distract people and steal their money or valuables. You should always be aware when someone you don’t know calls at your door. By using the advice below, you can protect yourself and vulnerable members of your family.
Bogus callers may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, the police, health organisations or gas, water or electricity companies. They can be convincing and persuasive. They may be men, women or even children. They may ask for a drink of water or to wash their hands. Some may be looking for a lost pet. In fact, people may use any story.
They often use ‘props’ like an identity card or wear overalls with a company logo. If you are expecting the caller, remember to check their identification very carefully against the letter you have been sent or the password you have agreed before you let them in.
These official visitors should always arrange an appointment with you beforehand. If you are not expecting them and are alone, ask them to call back when you have someone with you.
And, if you are in any doubt, keep them out!
Do not keep large amounts of money in your home.
Bogus callers succeed because they're believable - they're well practised and will have a convincing story and set of excuses ready. Next time the doorbell rings remember - Stop, Chain, Check and stay safe:
Are you expecting anyone?
Close and lock back doors and windows and look to see who it is
While your door is closed you're in control
Put your door chain/bar on before you open the door
Keep it on while talking to the caller but remove it when they've gone away (in case of an emergency)
Do you recognise the caller?
Double check their identity by using the phone number from the telephone directory (not the one on their ID card)
If you've been visited by a bogus caller
If you suspect you or someone you know has been visited by a bogus caller please call the Police as soon as possible - you may well prevent other crimes occurring.
Please also contact the Police if you discover you've been burgled in this way (even if it's days, weeks or months before you realise) and don't be embarrassed - these criminals are well practised and will be very convincing.
In an emergency dial 999, otherwise report incidents on 101. You can also report any crimes or incidents free and anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Or you can give us a call on 0845 270 6968.