Police have asked people to be on their guard following a series of recent distraction burglaries at several locations around the country.

Explaining how the scam happens Detective Sergeant Johnston said “These incidents have entailed males calling to homes claiming to work for the Water Board and asking to “check the water” in the house.  Once inside the house the offender will turn taps on in a kitchen or bathroom, distracting the resident, whilst others unseen ransack the house.  The offender has no ID and if challenged claims that their ID is in the van and it would be quicker to just check the taps.

“I am appealing for anyone who has had similar calls to their home recently, and who is unsure as to whether the caller was genuine, to contact the non-emergency number 101 and report the matter.

Photo by John Matzick from FreeImages

“I’m also making a direct appeal to friends and loved ones of older people, or those who are vulnerable in our communities to please, take a few minutes and have a conversation with them about what they can do to help protect themselves and their homes. 

“There are a number of initiatives which are really helpful, including the ‘No Cold Calling’, the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme, QuickCheck, Neighbourhood Watch and ScamwiseNI Partnership and details of all of these can be found on the PSNI website at PSNI.CO.UK

“For example, the Nominated Neighbour Scheme allows householders to nominate a person who will deal with callers to their home. If a caller arrives when you are alone in the house, they can be shown a card instructing them to contact your ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity avoiding the need for you to open your front door. 

“You can contact your local crime prevention officer on 101 about the Nominated Neighbour Scheme and QuickCheck. By using QuickCheck, people can phone 101 to check the identity of callers to their home who claim to represent an energy or water network company. 

“Finally, I would really urge people to always ask for proof of identity. If people are who they say they are, they will be happy to show you their ID.  No ID should mean no admittance.  

“To avoid becoming the victim of a scam visit ScamwiseNI at WWW.NIDIRECT.GOV.UK/CAMPAIGNS or @ScamwiseNI

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