Police in Bromley are asking residents to be vigilant and not to answer the door to cold callers, after victims have been targeted by artifice burglars posing as police officers and water board officials.
Detectives are investigating six incidents in the borough over the last two days, three in which two suspects have knocked at the door of elderly residents posing as plain clothed police officers investigating burglaries in the area.
In the other three cases the suspects claimed to either be from the water board needing to check water pipes or asking to use a pen as their car had broken down.
Officers from Bromley's Burglary Squad are investigating the incidents and no arrests have been made at this stage.
Detective Inspector Charles Clare, from Bromley CID, said:
"Bogus callers tend to target vulnerable members of the community and often this means elderly people.
"Although there are still relatively few victims of this type of crime, it can have an enormous impact on their lives if it happens so we want people to be aware and take simple steps to prevent it from happening.
"If you've got any vulnerable or elderly friends or family, then please make them aware of our advice so that they don't fall foul of this type of scam."
Residents are asked to do the following when somebody unexpected comes to their doorstep:
- Use your door viewer, or look through a window to see who is there and if you are in any doubt, don't answer the door.
- When anyone claims to be from a service company, always ask for I.D. and call the customer services department to confirm their identity - genuine callers won't mind waiting. If they claim to be police officers, you can call 101.
- Many utility companies operate password schemes, so contact yours to set one up - any representative will know this when they visit your home.
- Be wary of anyone who claims they are in a hurry and needs to get in your home quickly.
- Never hand over money to somebody cold calling or let anyone take you to the bank to withdraw money.
- Consider scheduling a time for the caller to come back again, when a friend or relative can be with you.
- If you see anybody acting suspiciously call police on 999.
For more crime prevention information on how best to deal with bogus callers and protect your home from burglars, visit: www.metbumblebee.org