It is hard to know who you can trust in this society of tricks and mimicry. There are stories that fill the news reports and internet websites about criminals disguised as repair technicians or officials. You may not always be able to tell the genuine from the criminal but there are ways that you can keep yourself protected no matter who might be knocking at your door.
- Don’t open or unlock your door to strangers – no matter what uniform they might be wearing. The first thing you should do is ask them to hold some official identification up to your viewer. Follow up the identification with a phone call to the home office (gas company, police precinct or other location) to confirm that the person has been sent by the company. Odds are if the stranger at your door is a criminal then he or she will leave before you can finish checking out the story.
- Learn the routes and names of your regular service technicians. It will help to know when the gas, electric and water companies read the meters and who is normally the person for the job. You should watch the garbage delivery and see who the people are that pick up your garbage. Even learning the normal route time of your postal delivery is a good idea. The more you know about the people who come around your home then the more alert you will be when something is out of place.
- Be aware of people or things that stick out as unusual. A strange car that has been sitting on the street for the whole day could be a sign of someone staking out the neighborhood. A delivery man that wanders around the neighborhood looking for the “right” address is probably not lost but more likely searching for the right target for the “delivery.” It is okay to contact your local police station to express concerns about these things. Use the direct number and not the emergency number. Most criminals avoid the neighborhoods where people are watching out for them.
- Stay present and aware of repair technicians working in or around your home. If you must go outside with one then lock the door behind you to keep any accomplices from having easy access. Inside your home you will want to keep the repair technicians in sight.
Criminals are using creative disguises to get in to your home. It may be virtually impossible to tell the real repair technicians from the criminals. Don’t take a chance with your safety or with the safety of your home. Be prepared to uncover whether the person at your door is a welcomed visitor or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.