Burglars – Home Invasion Scams
It’s pretty safe to say that burglars are pretty bold or they wouldn’t be in the “business” they are in. And a common thought is they try to target empty homes…fair enough. However; there is a growing trend that involves use of some complex tactics that will get them in to your occupied home…they target and want you there! Why you might ask? Well, first off, there is no lock to get through and secondly, any alarm you have installed is more than likely disabled. In their mind, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Home invasion scams come in many forms and involve using some type of convincing excuse for you to let them in your home, even though they are a perfect stranger. To prevent this, you only need to learn some of the common elements so you won’t get caught off guard and fall prey to a very dangerous situation.
Look First! Most all doors have a peep hole and if yours doesn’t, get one. Look before you unlock the door. As a matter of fact, keep the door locked during any questions you need to ask. Yes, they can hear you through the door. They are going to insist that they need some type of help and by all means, provide it for them with a simple call to the police. After all, the police are here to serve the public…right? Politely let them know (through the locked door) that the police will be there to assist them in a few minutes. A couple of other thoughts about the front door: Post “No Solicitors” signs and ignore anyone pretending to be one. Secondly, if your door has the typical safety chain, pretend it’s not there, because it is of little use when it comes to keeping an adult out that truly wants in.
Car Trouble: In this scenario there are usually multiple subjects. The “broken down” vehicle will be at the curb with the hood up. Usually one or two subjects will be pretending to examine under the hood. The main actor will be at your door requesting to use your phone. The car with the hood up provides the “believable” image in our minds and we tend to want to help in some way. However, once that door unlocks the nightmare
begins. Do yourself a favor and keep it locked, call the police, and let them know (again, through a locked door) that help will be there shortly.
The Delivery: This scam can be believable for a cpl of reasons. One is they call ahead telling you to expect a package. Secondly, they are in some type of uniform. Heads up folks…you can buy pretty much any delivery uniform online or at several second hand shops. If you didn’t order it, do not unlock that door. Have them place the package at the door and call the post office or terminal number to confirm a package should be coming to your house. Don’t ask the delivery person for the number though…this is usually a team effort and you can easily be fooled. If they insist you must sign for the package, just politely let them know you will accept delivery the following day after you have confirmed the package from the post office or terminal. This tactic is particularly successful during the holidays.
To Good To Be True: Someone has several high dollar services or products leftover from a job and they can provide them to you for a fraction of the cost. Politely tell them to read the sign…”No Solicitors.” Again, this scam is believable because they are wearing some type of official looking uniform. Either ignore or do NOT unlock that door.
The visual aids: All of which are to make things believable and to get you to unlock and/or open the door.
- Uniform (Can get them anywhere)
- Business Cards: ($10 will get you 500)
- Props (Cars, vinyl lettering, fake IDs, tools, packages, clipboards, caps, radios, etc.)
Always Remember: If their story is in fact true, they will be more than willing to wait…it’s that simple. Always use the peep hole or a window and absolutely keep your doors and windows locked.
Finally, keep as least one form of personal protection (pepper spray, stun gun, TASER, weapon) in your home, ensuring it is easy to get to. Make sure you have been trained on it and you are familiar with how it functions and any limiting factors it might have.
Stay prepared and stay safe friends!
Your TSI team.