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Distraction burglary

You don't have to open the door

Most callers are genuine, but some aren't. Burglars won't go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in. So always be on guard when unexpected visitors - men, women or even children - turn up at the door.

Occasionally some callers will pretend to be on official business from utility companies (gas, electricity, water) or the council. They may pretend to be tradespeople who are calling to carry out urgent repairs or may claim that they have lost something in your back garden.

To protect yourself from distraction burglary:

  • beware of anyone who says they are in a hurry - if in doubt, call a neighbour or friend

  • check to see who is at the door by using your door viewer, or looking through a front window

  • always put the chain on before you open the door as this is a barrier against unwanted callers

  • when an unexpected caller claims they work for one of the utility companies, they must be able to quote your password and unique customer number and produce an identity card:

    • all of the utility companies operate password schemes - contact the customer services department and set up a password with them

    • make a note of your customer number, which can be found at the top of the utility bill and keep it handy - this number is unique to your household

    • as added proof of identity, genuine trades people should carry an identification card with their photograph on -check this carefully and keep the chain on

  • if you're unsure about the caller's identity telephone the company the caller claims to represent, but don't rely on them giving you the number as it may be false - genuine callers won't mind waiting

  • if you're still unsure, ask the caller to come back later so that you can arrange for a friend or relative to be present