Home burglaries have increased by 35 percent in the last four years and distraction crimes are a big part of the crime surge. In South Florida, the elderly are being targeted by con artists with this common scam. A distraction crime is when a stranger disguised as a plumber or utility department employee knocks on your door and uses their disguise to come into your home. They will pretend to be repairmen and then steal your valuables when you aren’t looking. The disguises vary from landscapers, tree trimmers, electricians, or someone sent by a landlord. The best ways to avoid being victimized are to ask for identification from the stranger, look through the peep hole, call the company they claim to be from, keep the door locked until the person’s identification checks out, or dial 911 to report the suspicious person.
Fraud expert, Linda Webb, aka The Fraud Dog says that thieves and fraudster use creative ways to steal from you. Distraction scams are people who gain your confidence after knocking on your door offering to inspect, repair, or pose as imposters offering special services, saying they need entry into your home. When you are least expecting, these scammers rob, steal, and look for personal information for identification theft. If you find someone you don’t know knocking on your door, ask for identification, take a picture of them, or simply don’t let them in. Gypsy scammers often times will roll into communities and quickly move from town to town offering new fraud scams.