Police are reminding residents to be vigilant to cold callers in the run-up to Christmas.
The warning comes as ACPOs (Association of Chief Police Officers) National Burglary Awareness campaign focuses on distraction burglary – crimes where people trick or distract residents in order to gain entry to their property.
The most common form is for people to pretend to be from a water company, gas or electric provider and trick the homeowner into thinking they need urgent access to his phone.
Other methods include pretending to be doing repairs or maintenance or impersonating figures of authority to enter homes.
Detective Sergeant Pete Jessop, from Norfolk Constabulary’s Operation RADAR team, which specialises in doorstep crime, said while offences had fallen significantly in recent years it still pays to be vigilant.
“I would urge people to remain vigilant when they receive a knock on their door. Cold callers are men or women or make up stories to gain access to a person’s home to steal and will often prey on the vulnerable such as the elderly.
“If you do decide to open the door to someone, ensure that you ask for identification and certainly think twice before inviting anyone into your house. A genuine caller should not mind you checking.”
Police would also give the following advice:
- Close and lock the back door before answering the front door
- Use a spy hole or window to look at the caller before answering the door.
- Elderly householders should be on their guard and members of the public who have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour or relative should be vigilant.
- Always ask for identification from any unexpected callers and do not let anyone in if you are not comfortable with who they are.
- Phone the company or organization the caller claims to be from while the caller waits outside.
- Tell someone you trust about uninvited callers to your home.
- If necessary, report it to police with a description of the people involved and details of their vehicles if possible.
Further crime prevention advice is available at www.norfolk.police.uk.