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Bogus callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine but it’s important to be on your guard and remember there are bogus callers about.

These are people who turn up unannounced with the intention of tricking their way into your home to steal.

Too many people have been fooled into letting callers through the front door only to discover their valuables have been stolen while they were distracted.

Fraudsters may also try to steal money over the telephone.  Thieves posing as police officers have stolen large sums of money in a number of recent incidents targeting elderly people.

Scams

Bogus callers are creative and their reasons for needing entry into your home can seem plausible, but be cautious.

The person whose car has broken down and needs to use your phone to call the recovery service may not be who they seem.

More complex scams involve people pretending to be from utility companies and needing access to your home. These people often work in pairs. While one person distracts the homeowner, the other gains entry to your home to steal. Typical scenarios include stories of an emergency gas or water leak.

Over the telephone callers may pretend to be police officers or bank officials, who tell victims that thieves have had access to their bank accounts.  They may try to reassure victims that they are genuine by telling them to hang up and dial 999.  When they hang up the thief stays on the line, before 'answering' the 999 call.  They then ask victims to withdraw large amounts of cash and send it to them in a taxi so that they can check the notes for fingerprints.    

Identification

Always be sure the caller is who they say they are before letting them in. All genuine callers will have identification and won’t mind you asking to see it.

"Don’t let anybody in your home that you don’t want there. It’s about common sense. If you don’t like the look of them, don’t let them in."
Heather Gurden, Senior Architectural Liaison Officer

Representatives from water, gas and electric companies are unlikely to call at your home without an appointment and police are likely to be present if there is a real emergency.

If you don’t want callers in your home, tell them. If they fail to listen you should contact us.

Police or bank officials would never call you by telephone and ask for your full bank details or ask you to withdraw large sums of cash.

Advice

Most people who call at your home will have a genuine reason for doing so but by taking a few simple precautions you can protect yourself and your home.

Follow our advice to stay safe:
  • If you receive a phone call asking for your bank details or for large sums of cash call police from a different phone, for example a neighbours, or wait 5 minutes and be sure you hear a dial tone before dialling.
  • Don’t be frightened to ask for identification and always check it carefully. If you’re not sure, ask them to come back another day.
  • Think about installing a door chain and use it. Keep the door on the chain until you’ve seen identification.
  • If you need your glasses to read the identification, close the door before going to find them. Don’t leave the door open and unattended.
  • Remember to lock the back door before opening the front.
  • Don’t be pressured into letting someone into your home if you have suspicions.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house.
  • Don’t believe scare stories. Not all callers are genuine.
For more security advice read the How to beat the bogus caller leaflet produced by the Home Office.

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