Just because someone knocks on your door doesn’t mean you have to open it.
Distraction burglaries have been reported in areas near Washington County: know what to look for and make yourself a harder target.
Do you answer the door when strangers come knocking? You should be cautious and make sure they stay outside. Once you allow them to enter your home, clever thieves work quickly and seamlessly to distract you to steal your valuables. And while this technique is more frequently used to victimize older adults, anyone can become a victim. So, know how to spot the warning signs.
These crooks generally work as a two or three-person team moving from one home to the next. To trick homeowners and give them a false sense of reassurance, they often pretend to have met or done work for them previously. They may also claim to have known a close family member or once lived in the neighborhood. But these criminals are quick-witted and can come up with various stories on the fly to fit the situation.
After gaining entry to a potential victim’s home, one scammer engages the victim in a conversation, which could be casual or about a particular sales pitch, such as with flooring samples brought into the home. In any case, the goal of the conversation is to distract you from the other scammers, who then take the opportunity to slip away to steal credit cards, cash, jewelry, and other valuables. The scammers then typically move on to another area or neighborhood to disappear from your sight and victimize someone else.
Remember that it’s perfectly possible for someone working alone to distract and steal from you simultaneously. So don’t think you’re safe if only one person shows up. The scammer could distract you by swapping money, spilling something, or simply getting you to look at something far away.
It doesn’t matter who comes to your door. And while unexpected visitors are more suspicious, you should also pay attention to people you expect, such as cable installers and delivery workers. Anyone can steal from you. Just because you’re expecting someone doesn’t mean you can drop your guard.
If you aren’t expecting someone, don’t let that person into your home under any circumstance. While most people who come to your door are probably legitimate and have no intention to harm you, you can’t be sure. If you feel uncomfortable or in danger, call 911 immediately.