Unknown Visitors to Your Home

Sometimes, people turn up at your home unannounced, with the intention of tricking their way into it. They are known as ‘cold callers’, ‘distraction burglars’ or ‘bogus callers’, whose only aim could be to is to get into your home and distract you to steal your money or valuables.

Always be aware when someone you do not know calls at your door.

Bogus callers may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, the police, health organisations or gas, water, or electricity supply companies. They can be convincing and persuasive. They may be men, women or even children. They may ask for a drink of water or coffee, to wash their hands, or use the toilet. Some may be looking for a person or a lost pet, or they may want to tell you about a charity for disadvantaged people, they often make up all sorts of stories that could catch you off your guard.

Some bogus callers target older and vulnerable people saying they need help urgently, they may ask the person to help them outside, which takes them away from the front door which is now open so that the accomplice can sneak in and steal money or small valuables items. They may ask to come in to make a phone call or have a glass of water.

Bogus callers often work in pairs or even teams. They are often well organised and extremely convincing. They know how to get under a person’s radar. One will distract the person while the other searches the house for money or other valuables. Be on your guard with anyone who says they are in a hurry, do not let them pressure you or confuse you. They often use ‘props’ like an identity card or wear overalls with a company logo. They may carry a clip board with a logo on to legitimise their identity.

If in doubt, keep them out!

Report them to Staffordshire Police

  • LOCK: Keep your front and back doors locked, even when you are at home. Lock any side gates that give access to the rear of your property

  • STOP: Before you answer, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check you have locked the back door and taken the key out. Look through a spy hole or window to see who it is.

  • CHAIN: If you decide to open the door, put a door chain or door bar on first, and keep it on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep. (Normally when the door is shut and locked, leave the bar or chain off in case you need to get out in an emergency.)

  • CHECK: Check the person’s details before you let them into your house.

Some callers may offer to do repairs to your home and persuade you that something awful is going to happen if you do not act swiftly. They may want you to come outside so that they can show you a defect they have noticed that they can put right for a good price. They often try to trick you into paying for unnecessary work.

  • Do not agree to having any work done by someone who is just passing or claims they are doing similar work at someone’s property ‘just down the road’.

  • Do not take their word that the work needs to be done at all. If you think the work needs to be done, get quotes from other companies – two or three should be enough – and you can ask a friend or relative for a recommendation.

  • You can check whether the company is reputable through the local council’s trading standards office.

  • Do not be pressurised into paying them before they do any work.

  • Do not accept any offer from them to drive you to your bank to withdraw the money.

  • Do not keep large sums of money in your home.

  • If someone claims to be in urgent need of help, only go to help them if you have someone else with you and never leave your house insecure. You can offer to phone the police or an ambulance for them instead.

Official looking callers at your door

Ask for and carefully check their identity card, even if it is a prearranged appointment. Check that they look like the person on the card, check that the name is the same on as the letter you have received. Close the door while you do this. Check the phone number on the card is the same as the company number you have. This will be on a recent bill/letter. Do not be tempted to just ring the number on the card as it may be a fake and you will be speaking to someone who is a part of the scam. If the caller came unannounced, ask them to call back later when someone can be with you. You can also tell them to contact you by letter to arrange a more convenient time. Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry an identity card with a photograph and they won’t mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity or want to rearrange an appointment.

If you have any doubts, KEEP THEM OUT!