Aug 26 2010 By Dan Coombs
POLICE in Hillingdon have reported a spike in attempted distraction burglaries over the past fortnight, with fraudsters pretending to be from the water board.
In two weeks, four instances of attempted burglary have been reported to the police with offenders using this method, although on each occasion they escaped with nothing.
Police have put this down to the alertness of the home owners, and they are encouraging residents to continue this vigilance and not get caught out.
In the past fortnight, tricksters have used the ruse that they were builders looking to examine previous work, as well as purporting to be water board officials. On each occasion they have targeted the elderly or vulnerable.
CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE
If you are approached by persons you consider bogus then note any personal or vehicle details and inform the Police.
Fitting a door chain or spy hole will help you check who the caller is. Keep your doors and windows locked. Before opening the door. Are you expecting anyone? Are the back door and windows locked so no one can sneak in?
Check the caller’s identity. Genuine callers will not mind waiting outside while you contact their company. Find the phone number in the phone book, or look on your last bill (if the caller says they are from the gas, electricity or water company, for example). Most companies now have a password scheme. If you are in any doubt, don’t let them in. Ask them to make an appointment to come back.
If you let someone into your home, even if it is someone you know, and you start to feel uncomfortable, make excuses and leave. Go to a neighbour’s house, or ask a friend to come back with you.
Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs or even teams. They are often well organised. They can be men, women or children or a combination of both. Watch out for anyone who says they are in a hurry. Don't let them pressure or confuse you.
If you think a bogus caller is or has called at your door report it to police immediately dial 999 and tell them what has happened.