People turning up at your door unannounced can cause concern for many, but more-often-than-not callers will be genuine – meaning you have no reason to worry.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your wits about you as randomly knocking on the door of a house can also be the tactic of an opportunist thief.
They may want to see if the house is occupied, assess points of entry or may even use it as a way to distract those inside while an accomplice breaks-in elsewhere in the building.
So if somebody you don’t know knocks at your door, make sure you know what to do.
Of course, some people may well be in genuine need of help, but the “I’m lost and need directions,” approach or, “my car has run out of petrol,” routine should always be treated with caution.
But the more dangerous and complex scams involve people pretending to be from utilities companies who then ask for access to the home.
Around 12,000 reported incidents of ‘distraction burglary’ – when callers get into a person’s home through false pretences, and then steal cash or valuables while the home-owner is distracted – are reported every year.
Often working in pairs, one person will distract the resident while the other is rifling through their belongings.
What to Do
Basically, don’t let anybody in to your home unless you are expecting them. Representatives of water, gas and electric companies don’t usually turn up un-announced without an appointment, so this should certainly ring alarm bells.
If you are not sure who is at your door, you are not obliged to let them in and if you feel uncomfortable, talk to them through the gap in the door as you assess who they are and what it is they want.
Also, before answering the front door, make sure other doors in the home are closed and locked – thieves have been known to work in pairs, with one entering through the back while the other knocks on the front door.
And if someone does knock at your door claiming to be from utilities company, you should always ask to see their ID before even considering letting them into your home. All employees of large companies like this will carry identification, and if they claim not to have any, you need to ask yourself why?
Suggested Security Measures
For complete peace of mind you should consider implementing a number of security measures to make your home as safe as possible to combat the threat of burglars.
Fitting a chain on the front door is a great way to allow you to answer the door, while still keeping your front door secure. Visitors can then identify themselves or explain why they are calling before you decide whether to let them in or not.
Also, door and window locks can also secure other points of entry in the home that may currently present burglars with an opportunity to gain entry to your property while you are distracted.