Palos Park Police are warning residents to be alert and cautious, as we see more Ruse scams, with Offenders posing as utility workers and inspectors in order to gain entry into homes. Our area is seeing the elderly victimized by con men who talk their way into homes on a ruse, then burglarize them.
Ruse burglary is a of burglary where the offender uses deception to gain the trust of the resident in an effort to distract or confuse them. During the distraction, the victim will leave the home unlocked or unoccupied to attend to some reported problem outside. Often this requires “immediate” attention, while another member of the burglary team will sneak into the home and commit a burglary, taking small items such as jewelry or cash.
Often these offenders will identified themselves as a neighbor, or falsely claiming to be from the village or city water department talking their way into a home, and keeping the homeowner busy running the water faucet, talking into a walkie-talkie, and other official-looking (and noisemaking) things which a genuine water-department person might possibly do. Distracting the victim in the kitchen while another thief operates in the home.
Please always keep your garage and other doors locked even during the day. Often times, burglary crews will drive around town looking for victims to prey upon. If someone shows up at your home unannounced and reports an issue that requires your immediate attention and you feel this is suspicious, close and lock your door and call 9-1-1 immediately and uniformed police officer will respond and assess the situation.
Another ruse is the knock on the front door of a home with claiming to work for NICOR COM ED, AT & T and spent several minutes chatting with the home's resident at the front door, while someone enters in the back door to steal items from the house.
As with many types of scammers, the burglary scammers will often try pushing their victims' panic buttons; in at least one instance, they claimed to be from the water department, “There is a water main break in your neighborhood and we have to test the water in your home right away.”
Palos Park Police Urge all:
- Always keep your windows and doors locked, even when you are home.
- Always look out a window to see who is at your door. Make sure the person sees you. This lets them know that someone is actually home.
- Never open your door to anyone you do not know. Do not give them an opportunity to push the door in.
- Do not be fooled by "phony" uniforms, work vests, or ID badges. If you did not call or request the service, do not open the door.
- Never allow anyone who you do not know; or, a business or service you did not request, enter your home.
- If the scammer refuses to leave and/or continues to pressure you into letting them in, please call "911" immediately.