Last month’s column on behalf of the Senior Task Force featured frauds and scams. This month we’ll look at ruse entry burglaries.
According to Julie Smith, NPD Crime Prevention Specialist, ruse burglaries are more popular in the summer, and Naperville is not insulated from them.
Ruse entry burglaries are an attempt to enter your house through deception, usually with the intent to steal valuables or cash inside your house. Senior citizens are often targeted by these groups during daylight hours.
Offenders usually pose as outside workers, such as surveyors, utility company workers, city water department employees, or tree trimmers. They will name drop your neighbors, saying they are “doing work for them.” (They can easily get your personal information by looking online and in mailboxes.) They will try and to get you outside and lured away from your front entrance. Once you are outside your home, another offender will sneak inside to snatch small items, such as jewelry, flatware or cash.
So, what can you do to keep from becoming a victim?
Smith provided some prevention tips:
- When you hear the knock at the door or the doorbell rings? Are you expecting someone? If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it! Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are purporting to be from i.e., Gas, Electricity, Water, Cable, Police. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller, they may be bogus! Do not open the door. Do everything with the door locked.
- Many utility service providers will call prior to arriving at your home. In many cases the caller will be the technician who is will be arriving. Ask them for their name ahead of time.
- Safeguard valuables: Lock up cash, jewelry, and documents containing personal details and do not have your keys on display.
- Keep doors and windows always locked and secure.
- If somebody asks for your help, needs to make a telephone call, refer them to a younger neighbor or assist them through a closed door. Or call a friend or neighbor to come and assist.
When to call the police:
- If you are suspicious or it just doesn’t “feel” right. Listen to your instincts!
- If someone forces entry or enters your home without permission.
- You notice valuables or money have gone missing shortly after someone has visited.
Find more information about “frauds and scams” on the City of Naperville’s website, www.naperville.il.us.