Responding to news reports over the Bank Holiday weekend that two women in Cardiff were targeted by distraction burglars, Age Cymru’s Graeme Francis says:
“Older people are less likely than any other age group to be victims of crime but some criminals such as distraction burglars (or bogus callers or as they are also known), do target older people.
“Distraction burglars will try to trick their way into people’s homes to steal money and valuables by drawing the householder’s attention i.e. distracting them.
“Distraction burglars can often seem very plausible with the ploys that they use – such as pretending to be from the water board or from a gas or electricity company.
“This is why it is important that older people know how to protect themselves and their homes from these criminals, which is why Age Cymru is today issuing guidance for older people about distraction burglars.”
Before you go to the door
Close and lock the back door and any accessible windows before you go to the front door.
Bogus callers often work in pairs. One of them will try to keep you talking at the front door while the other tries to get in through the back door or a window.
Look through your spy hole or window
Try to check who a caller is before opening the door. Don’t let any caller pressure you into making a quick decision - if you are unsure‚ do not open the door.
Put your door chain on
Before you answer the door, put your door chain on and keep it on while you check the callers’ identity.
If you want to check with their company, keep the door chain on‚ tell the caller you are going to call their company and close the door.
Check the caller is who they say they are
A genuine caller will not object to you leaving them on the doorstep and closing the door while you confirm their identity‚ even if it is raining.
If the caller says they represent an electricity‚ gas or water company or another organisation such as the council or a charity, check their ID card - does the card look genuine? Has the expiry date passed - is the ID card still valid? Does the photograph on the card match the person at the door? Is the photograph original - has anything been stuck over it?