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Distraction Burglaries and Bogus Callers

Distraction Burglaries and Bogus Callers
Distraction burglaries are those carried out by thieves who convince residents they are council officers, utility company representatives, pest controllers, charity workers, local gardeners or even police officers.
They claim to be from these or other legitimate organisations and use this as an excuse to gain entry to a home before stealing money and valuables. They may work as individuals or as part of a team. Whilst this crime is upsetting it can be easily avoided by following a few simple tips and not letting them in!
Trading Standards and West Midlands Police are working together to tackle rogue trader and distraction burglary crime.
Follow our simple tips before you open the door to anyone
Be prepared
Be extremely cautious when dealing with cold callers, especially if asked for any cash
Never feel pressurised into buying items from doorstep callers
Don’t keep money unnecessarily in the house
Protect your property and belongings by closing and locking doors and windows
Lock your front and back doors even when you are at home
Install and use a door bar or chain
Only deal with callers by appointment
Consider property marking personal items, keep receipts for expensive items and take photographs of your valuables
Pass this information on to any vulnerable family or friends
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If someone knocks
Stop and look through curtains or spyhole to see who it is – are they expected?
Check that your front and back doors are locked
Secure your door chain or bar before opening your door
Ask to see ID, if you don’t know who is at the door
Before you let them in
Check the caller’s card, never be afraid to confirm details by calling the number found in the phone book or on a bill and NOT a number that the caller gives you to ring.
Genuine callers will have identity cards and will be happy to wait on the doorstep while you confirm they are who they say they are.
Most utility services offer a free password scheme and a phone number.
The password is specific to you and issued only by the service provider before they visit your address. Ask for the password if you have one or call the provider to check. We have included some of these numbers below. If they are genuine – they will wait.
Keep a list of service numbers and any passwords close to the door (not in sight of the caller).
Don’t leave the door open while you check.
Only let them in when you are sure the caller is genuine.
“ If you are not sure, don’t let them in and report it”
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Service Provider contacts
G4S Utility Services
0800 393 499
British Gas Customer Services
0800 300 100
BT Operations Centre
0800 321 999 (option 2)
Meter Plus (NPower)
0845 672 9242
Siemens (ADF)
0800 015 2221
Severn Trent Water
0800 783 4444
Walsall Council
01922 650000
West Midlands Police
South Staffs Water
0800 389 1011
Transco Gas Staff
0845 605 6677
0300 555 6666
Beechdale Community Housing
01922 648252
Accord/Caldmore Housing
0300 111 7000
Midland Heart Housing
0845 602 0540
Heantun Housing Association
01902 571100
Age UK
01922 638825
Citizens Advice Consumer Services
 0808 223 1133
Useful numbers
Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 0808 223 1133
If you have any doubts or suspicions contact West Midlands Police on 101
Dial 999 in an emergency if you feel you or your property are in immediate danger
Reporting suspicious activity could protect someone else too.
Contact us
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Freephone: 0808 223 1133
Online: Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Walsall Trading Standards are located at:
Civic Centre
Darwall Street