A new tactic that many burglars are now using is called “distraction burglary”. This type of burglary combines an identity scam with a burglary or other crime. Since it involves clever manipulation, distraction burglary can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t familiar with the warning signs of this type of scam. Here is some information to help familiarize you with distraction burglary, as well as how to spot different types of distraction burglary scams.
How Do They Do It?
Usually, distraction burglaries involve at least two perpetrators. One of the burglars will take the role of distracting the person who lives in the home, usually by engaging them in conversation. While this is occurring, the other accomplice(s) will break into the home, usually through a back door or window. In some cases, a distraction burglar may work alone, and focus only on gaining entry for themselves into the home. No matter what tactic they use, the underlying principle is the same – they want to distract/deceive you long enough to burglarize your home!
What Tactics Do They Use?
Here are some of the most common scam tactics that may be used by distraction burglars. Remember – some of these tactics may be very convincing.
In some cases, the distraction burglar will appear at your door, claiming to have a lost pet. They may ask for your help in searching for their pet, or may claim that they saw their pet run into your yard. While you’re distracted helping them search for the pet, their accomplice may break into your home.
The fake utility company representative scam is used by many distraction burglars. In many cases, a person will appear at your front door, claiming that there is a maintenance emergency inside of your home. They may be wearing a uniform from a local utility company to increase their credibility. Once they gain entry to your home, they will either perform the burglary themselves, or distract you while their accomplice burglarizes your home.
The fake police/fire official scam is used by many burglars, sexual offenders and other individuals. A criminal will knock on your front door, claiming to be a fire or police officer. They may ask you to answer questions about a local crime, or give official-sounding reasons to enter your home. The best way to ensure the identify of a fire or police official is to ask them for identification before opening the door. Once you have their information, you can call your local police or fire station, and confirm their identity.
Note that this list is not all-inclusive. Other potential tactics may include someone claiming to be a neighbor, a Door-to-Door Salesman, a religious leader or any other identity that may allow them to gain entry to your home.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
Trust your instincts. When someone that may be acting suspicious knocks on your door, always ask for identification first. Most law officials or utility representatives will be more than happy to provide identification and/or confirmation of their identity.