From the Histon Neighbourhood Team, South Cambs Police:
Although many people who call at your home will be genuine there are incidents when people pretend to be from a water company or another organisation, just so they can enter your home under false pretences and steal money or valuables.
Often termed ‘bogus callers’ perpetrators are highly organised, work alone or in pairs, and operate under a number of guises such as utility company staff (water, gas, electricity, etc), builders and gardeners, door to door sales people, and even council staff or police officers.
Somebody at the door?
- Am I expecting anyone?
- Are my doors and windows secure
Always check back doors and windows are secure and locked, before you go to answer the front door.
- What are you here for?
- Can I see your I.D. please?
- Do you have any paperwork relating to your call?
Always use a spy hole or look through a side window to check who is there.
If you decide to open the door, put your door-chain or door-bar on first and keep it on while you talk to the person on the doorstep.
In cases where an offender failed to gain entry to a potential victim’s home, this was due to the occupant using their door-chain / spy-hole or quickly shutting the door.
Ring the company they claim to be from independently. Never ring the number they give you, look it up in the phonebook or ring directory enquiries.
You can ask them to wait outside while you contact a friend or neighbour to join you and supervise the visit.
If you are not sure they are legitimate or feel suspicious, don’t let them in, and call the police.
Protect your home
Never leave a door or window insecure because you are expecting a friend or carer to arrive.
If you have a shared entrance never buzz open the door for strangers or hold the door open for someone who arrives as you leave the building.
Genuine callers will carry ID and relevant paperwork. Most will wait patiently and be willing to answer any questions about their visit. It is good practice among many organisations to call ahead and make an appointment beforehand rather than turn up on your doorstep unannounced.
When to call the Police
- If you are suspicious or feel that the caller may be bogus.
- If someone forces entry or enters your home without permission.
- You notice valuables or money missing shortly after someone has visited.
- Whenever you think a crime has been, or is about to be committed.