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Beware of bogus callers! Protect yourself from doorstep crime

This month, Sgt David Lonsdale offers important advice on how to remain vigilant when answering your door. While most people who come to your door will be genuine callers, there are times when you’re uncertain about an individual’s motives, and this is when you need to consider security before opening your door. Always be wary of anyone who turns up unannounced, as most genuine callers will usually prearrange an appointment to see you.

Bogus callers can be very persuasive and they often prey on the elderly or vulnerable. They may claim that they’re from the local authority, health services, gas, electric and water companies, or tradespeople calling to carry out repairs. Sometimes they might even pretend to be from the police!

Here’s some simple security advice to consider when someone knocks on your door or rings your doorbell:
• Look to see who’s outside before opening the door.
• Fit a chain on your door so you can open it and talk while the chain is engaged.
• Always lock your windows and doors. Bogus officials often work in pairs, and while you’re distracted at the front door, another may attempt to gain entry at the back.
• Check the caller’s identity before you let them in. If in doubt, shut the door and call the company or organisation they represent. If it’s someone from a utility company, and it happens to be the same one you currently use, ring them using the telephone number on an old bill, and not the number on their identity card. If the person is genuine, they’ll understand and wait.
• If still in doubt, ask the caller to leave and arrange another appointment so you can ensure that someone else will be present with you.
• If someone asks for your help, needs to make a phone call, or requests a pen and paper, for example, refer them to a younger neighbour or assist them through a closed door.

If in doubt, don’t let them in. If you suspect a bogus caller has visited you, call the police straight away. We need to know!

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