A man knocks on your door and says he’s from the electric company. He’s wearing an orange vest and has some kind of ID dangling around his neck. He needs to take a look at your meter.
Or maybe he’s a fire department inspector who wants to see your smoke detectors. Maybe he’s checking gas lines or testing your water. Whatever the reason for his visit, he’ll need to come inside and look around. He may be alone or with an accomplice.
If you’re hesitant, they may tell you there’s some danger to you if you don’t let them in. There’s a possible gas leak or wiring problem that could lead to an explosion or fire. Your water might be contaminated. If you still refuse, he may threaten to cut off your service.
Ruse entry burglaries are just that. The criminal impersonates someone – usually a utility or public service worker – in order to gain entry to a home. Once inside, he or they will steal cash, wallets, purses, checkbooks or whatever other valuables they can find. If they’re working in pairs, one will distract the homeowner while the other commits the burglary.
A Virginia man opened his door to two men claiming to be from the power company. They told him there were reports of electrical shorts in the area and they needed to check his meter. While the victim showed one man outside to the electrical meter, the other went into the bedroom and stole a safe containing $10,000 in cash. They were in and out of the home in a matter of minutes.