robbing homes by tricking children and domestic helpers to let them in

July 11, 2013 in Newsletter

Criminals are still – and with increasing frequency – robbing homes by tricking children and domestic helpers to let them in.

Homeowners are urged to teach everyone in the home to never open the door to anyone without a prior appointment. Even the most believable person could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This is a warning from Robyn Farrell, managing director of 1st for Women Insurance. She says there has been an increase in claims related to robberies at residences where the suspects have gained entry to properties under false pretences.

“They claim to know the homeowner, pretend to be a Telkom or Eskom employee, or trick whoever answers the intercom into believing that they are there for a legitimate reason whether it’s to clean carpets or repair broken windows, you name it. Often they are dressed for the part.

“This modus operandi emerged a few years ago and unfortunately criminals are still getting away with robberies using this tactic.”

“The only way to prevent it is to advise everyone in your home to never open the gate or door to anyone unless the visit is pre-arranged and the person’s identity is confirmed,” says Farrell.

She says it is irregular for a home to receive an unscheduled visit from any organisation or company without prior arrangement or confirmation.

“Avoid opening your door to anyone claiming to be any kind of service provider, regardless of how convincing they might be.”

“If you happen to be expecting a repairman or technician and the individual turns up at a different time to what was agreed with the company, do not open the door. Rather call the office and verify the person’s name before allowing them in,” she stresses.

Even with scheduled visits, caution is urged.

“Try to confirm the name of the person who will be calling on your home beforehand so that you know exactly who to expect.

If you cannot be home for the appointment, tell all house inhabitants that you are expecting someone, advise them the name of the person and give them the phone number of the company they represent.

“Caution your domestic helper or whoever is at home not to open the door without first checking the identity of the individual, confirming the reason for the visit, and authenticating their credentials with the company,” recommends Farrell.

Aside from not allowing access to the home, domestic helpers and children should also be taught to never offer information, such as personal details or information about household routines or security, to anyone over the intercom. This kind of information in the wrong hands can be a security threat.

It should also be stressed to young children that they should never open the gate remotely when the bell rings without first confirming over the intercom who the visitor is.

Farrell concludes: “Without scaring anyone, make sure you address safety and security issues with your domestic helpers and your children.”

“It is important for them to understand the dangers of allowing unsolicited visitors onto your property.”

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