What Homeowners Need to Know about Distraction Burglaries to Protect Themselves

home-safetyDistraction burglaries are becoming more common. With this type of burglary scheme, the perpetrator tries to lure residents out of the house using false statements. The goal is to make the resident think something has happened that requires his or her immediate attention. While the victim is distracted, the perpetrator enters the home to steal valuables. In some cases, an accomplice may be used. People who come to the door stating they are police officers, utility workers, firefighters, public officials, salesmen, contractors, surveyors or other individuals should be treated with suspicion.

In some cases, criminals tell the residents of the homes they target that they have won a prize or gift card. While it is always important to ask for a person’s identification, residents should remember that some forms of identification can easily be faked these days. It is especially important to be suspicious of anyone who wants to enter the home. Although these burglaries often target elderly individuals, they can happen to anyone. The reason elderly people are often targeted is because they tend to live alone, they tend to be more cooperative and they often need the type of help a burglar is pretending to offer. Everyone should consider the following tips to avoid becoming the victim of one of these burglaries:

– Make sure all valuables or expensive jewelry pieces are locked in a safe.
– Avoid leaving a wallet or purse out in the open.
– Keep all doors locked.
– Never open the door for strangers.
– If the visitor seems to have a legitimate problem, lock the house when going outside to investigate the situation.

There are several different ways distraction burglars lure people out of their homes. They usually consider their targets carefully before deciding which type of distraction will work the best. The following paragraphs outline the most common ideas they use.

Lost Dog
In many cases, the burglar will knock on the door to frantically report a lost pet. Most people are willing to help when they hear that someone’s pet has wandered into their yard and is hiding. While the victim helps search the property for the nonexistent pet, an accomplice enters the home to steal valuables.

An Emergency
Most burglars use a fake emergency to have people exit their homes. They pose as utility workers who are reporting gas or water leaks. After explaining the situation, the burglar says he or she must enter the home to shut off the supply. The burglar will usually tell the victim to go to the basement or another room to watch something while he or she steals valuables.

A burglar may use this idea by saying that a car has broken down, run out of gas or is overheating. The individual will usually ask to use the phone instead of asking for a gas can, money or a ride. Even if they do not use this opportunity to burglarize the home, they are likely casing it for a future attempt.

Old Friends
Some burglars will use the claim that they are searching for an old friend or relative who lives next door. They may ask for a piece of paper and a pen to leave a note. The burglar will try to lure the person out of the home or into another area of the home so an accomplice can steal valuables.

Many people want to be polite and helpful when a person asks for help. However, it is also important to be extra cautious. Never be afraid to ask questions or turn a person down if their story seems suspicious. If the person is not willing to answer questions because he or she is attempting a burglary, the person will likely go away. Losing valuables and possessions can be devastating, but remember that the peace of mind lost from a burglary is even more difficult to replace.

About Brian Hendricks

Brian Hendricks is the President of Fidelity Insurance Group. Brian started Fidelity in 2003 with 0 clients. Today Fidelity Insurance Group is a Premier Independent Insurance Agency in Florida with over 3,000 families and businesses insured. Brian currently serves on advisory boards for 2 of the largest property insurance companies in Florida. Knowlege, Integrity, and Committment are his and his agency's guiding principles.
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