Always doubt - keep them out
ANGLIAN Water is stepping up its fight against bogus callers and recently organised a campaign across the region. The campaign, Always Doubt, Keep Them Out, was supported by Cambridge Water and multi-agency task groups including police forces, community s
ANGLIAN Water is stepping up its fight against bogus callers and recently organised a campaign across the region.
The campaign, Always Doubt, Keep Them Out, was supported by Cambridge Water and multi-agency task groups including police forces, community safety partnerships and groups representing the welfare of older people.
It reinforced the message that if someone calls claiming to be from the water board - don't you believe it - as there's no such thing!
Statistics have shown the majority of bogus callers use water as an excuse to enter someone's home.
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Anglian Water media manager, Collette Nicholls, said: "We are doing everything we can to tackle this particularly nasty crime against some of the most vulnerable people in our community."
Detective Superintendent Paul Craig, chairman of Cambridgeshire Distraction Burglary and Rogue Trader Taskforce said: "Unscrupulous people actively target the most vulnerable people. This is one of the most despicable crimes and ranges from straightforward theft to sophisticated methods of tricking victims into paying money for wholly inadequate services.
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"These offenders use different methods to gain entry but the most common is pretending to be from the water board. The effects on the victims can be absolutely devastating."
The offenders usually work in teams of between two and five. Some teams have involved children as young as six or seven.
The most common item stolen is cash. In many cases the victim is unaware of items stolen.
In East Cambs there were 20 reported distraction burglaries during 2005, eight of which where the offenders posed as officials from the fictitious water board.
Here are some tips to prevent it happening to you:
n Home or away - keep all doors locked.
n Are you expecting someone? Is the back door locked?
n Before opening the front door, look through the spy-hole, if there is one, or a window to see who is calling and put on the chain before answering the door.
n While the chain is on, ask for the caller's identification, and close the door while you check the details carefully. Many organisations, including utility companies, have password schemes and free phone hot lines to check the identity of their staff.
n Security devices such as door-chains and bars will give you more time to think, and can deter bogus callers from entering your home.
n If you are still not sure if the caller is genuine - contact the police by dialling 999 straight away.