Distraction Burglary Tactics

Distraction Burglars or ‘Bogus Officials’ will call at a house with the intention of tricking their way inside to steal money and/or other valuables.

  • Bogus Officials may work alone or in groups. They may be dressed in smart clothes or clothing which resembles a uniform and claim to be from the water board, the council, the police, a telephone company, health organisations or charities.
  • They may say they need access to turn off the water because of a leak, use the phone because their car has broken down, or perhaps say they have lost a pet
  • The caller may be a man, a woman or even a child. (It is common for would be distraction burglars to use children to draw you out of the house on the pretence of looking for a lost pet or a lost ball in your garden). They are very inventive and will use any story they can to try and gain access to the property

 Rogue Doorstep Traders Tactics

Rogue Doorstep Traders will use a trade as a means to extract large sums of money from people.

  • Offering services such as driveway re-surfacing, block paving, roofing, fascias, gardening or selling goods such furniture, alarms or mobility aids.
  • They may claim you have loose roof tile or that a tree you have is unsafe and needs to be trimmed
  • They will often give a very low quote that will increase when work begins
  • Sometimes they will drive victims to the bank and will often come back on future occasions to get more money


How to Protect yourself from Doorstep Crime

  1. NEVER agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call. Don't make snap decisions and don't be pressurised into having the job done.
  2. If you think work needs doing to your home, get quotes from 2 or 3 traders. Ask friends and relatives to recommend a reputable business or consider using the Help Direct Safe Trader Scheme.
  3. Ask for the full name & address from a trader BEFORE considering dealing with them. Never rely solely on a mobile phone number.
  4. Ask for a written quotation detailing all the proposed work and a final price for the job.
  5. Only pay once the work is completed to your satisfaction. Don't pay cash. Don't pay money up front for trader's materials.
  6. Do not keep cash in your home no matter how well you think it is hidden. Never pay traders in cash as this is an indication that you may have more cash on the premises.
  7. Check the identity of all callers to your home. Ask for photo identification even if the caller claims to be from a utility company, the police or local authority. Check it carefully with the telephone number in the phone book, NOT the number on their Identity Card. Here are some telephone numbers that can be used to check the identity of official callers at your home:

Police Officers 101

e.on Sales 0500 240 500

AccuRead 0800 393 499

Transco / National Grid 0845 605 6677 

TalkTalk  0870 087 8038

Npower 0800 551 555, (ask to speak to the change of supply team)

United Utilities 0845 746  2200



Fire Service  

West Lancs Council  

British Gas





For more information about Doorstep Crime, click on the link below


Advice From Lancashire Trading Standards

Consumers agreeing to deal with traders where the contract is agreed at the consumer’s home should be aware that they will have a seven-day cooling off period to cancel any work agreed to, or any purchases made over £35, although in certain circumstances the customer may have to pay for any goods installed or work carried out so far. Also be aware that the contract will not be enforceable against the customer unless information about your right to cancel is given in writing.

Lancashire Trading Standards advise residents never to deal with cold-callers, to ensure you obtain full name, address and landline details from all workmen, and to double-check identification and references from other customers- do not assume credentials are genuine. Also ensure any price you are quoted is fair and genuine by obtaining estimates from other traders, and by ensuring the work agreed and the price to be charged is written down on a quotation before you agree to the work starting.

Please refer any complaints and further information to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 55 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs. via Consumer Direct tel. 08454 040506. If there is any threat or fear of burglary, contact the police at once


Three Little Tricks Story

Colouring Book for children

(This book originates from a Police force in a different part of the country. The telephone numbers are wrong but the message is good.) 

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