What is Distraction Burglary?
A burglar will use any tactic to gain entry to your home, one of which is distraction. They will do this by posing as a tradesman or someone asking you for your help and using your front door to access your home. This is what they call ‘distraction burglary’.
Although forced entry is a much more common tactic for burglars to use, it’s still important to be aware of distraction burglary. This way you can be prepared and avoid this type of break in, if a burglar tries this tactic on you, as they will make up any story to get into your home.
How to Avoid Distraction Burglary
Use your door viewer to see who is there.
Secure the door chain (if you have one) before opening the door to anyone you don’t know.
Always ask for ID and check with the company the person has told you they are from, before letting them in.
Don’t trust the number on their business card, if possible, find a number on the company’s website. Call the customer service number and close the door while you do this.
A genuine caller shouldn’t mind you doing these checks. If you are unsure at all, arrange for the company to send another person at a time and date of your choice.
Enquire if your utility company has a password scheme. This means you and your utility company agree on a code word that will be said at the door, so you know the person is genuine.
Common Distraction Burglary Techniques
“I need to read your meter.”
Always check with your utility supplier that this is a legitimate representative before you let them and check that they carry identification. Some suppliers operate a password scheme.
“We’re the police, we’ve caught a burglar, we think he’s stolen your cash and we need to check your money is safe.”
A genuine police officer will never do this. Under no circumstances should you let them into your home.
“My car has broken down…can I use your phone?”
We would all like to help someone in need, but you shouldn’t let unknown people in your home. If you want to help, offer to call a breakdown service for them but keep the door locked.
A representative from a genuine company such as a utility supplier or tradesman will always be more than happy to show you their identification. If they refuse to show you any form of identification or you are still unsure, shut the door immediately and phone the police on 999.
If you suspect a bogus caller call 999 immediately and report it to the police.
Deter a burglar with our ‘No ID? No Way!’ sign. Simply click the image below to download and place it on your front door where it can easily be seen by passersby.
If you would like some other tips on keeping your home safe then you can take a look at our Home Security Hub.
If you have been the victim of a break in and need a local locksmith, then you can find one on our Find a Locksmith Page.