Bogus callers


'Bogus callers', 'doorstep crime' or 'distraction burglary is a crime that a lot of people fear. Follow our advice so that you can spot the signs of whether or not an unexpected caller to your home is genuine.

Top tips for deterring distraction burglars

  1. Check ID Properly – check the phone number matches the number in the yellow pages, phone Directory Enquiries or keep a list of useful numbers such as electricity and gas companies near your front door. Don't feel embarrassed leaving them on the doorstep – genuine employees expect their ID to be checked.
  2. Sign up to the Priority Services Register with your utility providers. This will give you a unique password, among other things, that only you and they know – so you can be sure people at the door are who they say they are.
  3. Keep your garden preened and the front of your house looking neat – bogus callers are more likely to target houses which look unkempt as they think you're less likely to care.
  4. Make sure you use your door chain when answering the door and keep it on until you've seen official identification – if you don't already have a door chain contact your local Neighbourhood Police team and they will put you in contact with agencies who can help you.
  5. Make sure your back door is locked if you go to answer your front door – thieves can work in pairs with one distracting you while the other slips in the back.
  6. Don't keep large amounts of money in your home. If in doubt, keep them out.
  7. Only let them in when you have double checked that they are a genuine caller.
  8. If you think you have been targeted by a distraction burglary tell a friend, neighbour, caretaker, Neighbourhood Watch representative and the police.

Did you know...?
The average age of a victim of a distraction burglary is 81 years old.


  • ost people who come to your door will be genuine callers, but it's always best to make sure.
  • Fit a door chain or spy hole to help you check who the caller is.
  • If you were not expecting someone to call, a genuine caller will not mind waiting outside while you contact their company. Find the number in the phone book or on your latest phone bill. Most companies have a password scheme.
  • Genuine delivery personnel usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it.
  • If you become uncomfortable after you have let someone into your home, even if it's someone you know, make excuses and leave. Go to a neighbour's house or ask a friend to come back home with you.

Did you know...?
In 4% of burglaries, thieves used a false pretence to gain entry to a property

Follow the ‘Lock, Stop, Chain and Check' procedure:

  • Lock – Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home
  • Stop – Are you expecting anyone?
  • Chain – If you decide to open the door, put the door chain on first
  • Check – Ask for the caller's ID and check it by phone