Common cons continue in Broward County
Message from Sheriff Al Lamberti
Unfortunately, criminals have perfected the art of home invasion crime and all too often prey upon the elderly. Perhaps it is because senior citizens rely upon repairmen and tend to trust people. In 2008, the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) launched an initiative called Slam the Door on Scammers to combat these crimes. The goal of the program is to educate residents about scams used to gain entry into homes. We utilize brochures, stickers, public service announcements and the media to get this important safety information out to residents. Recently, we have received reports of these types of crimes taking place again. I felt it was important to once again discuss this important topic and ask that you share it with your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Next time you hear a knock at your door, think twice before you open it. He or she may seem clean-cut, friendly and harmless. Maybe the person knocking at the door will say their car broke down and ask to use your phone. Perhaps he or she will pose as a maintenance worker who needs to make sure something in your house is working properly. If so, beware! That person might be a scam artist trying to get inside your house to rob you. Such scammers use creative tactics, preying on your fears, loneliness or sense of sympathy to get inside.
It only takes a few seconds for a scammer to grab your money or valuables when your back is turned. You may not even realize you were robbed until much later.
Scammers are slick talkers and are good at convincing people that dire consequences will result if they are not allowed inside immediately. BSO reminds you to keep the following precautions in mind:
- Beware of people posing as electricians, exterminators, maintenance workers, water quality testers, building inspectors, meter readers, telephone or cable TV repairmen or anyone else, even if they claim to be sent by your condominium association. Check with your maintenance office before letting anyone into your home. Once inside, the phony exterminator will “accidentally” squirt you with bug spray and while you’re busy cleaning up, he will clean up, too, leaving your wallet empty. The bogus water tester will keep you busy in the kitchen, filling and spilling glasses of water while his “assistant” empties the jewelry box in your bedroom.
- Beware of people who approach your home or condo asking for assistance or wanting to use your telephone. If they need help, keep your door closed and offer to call BSO. If there is a legitimate need for assistance, the person will wait. If not, he will run like a thief.
- Beware of people offering low prices for unsolicited repair work such as fixing your roof or resealing your driveway. Do not open the door for any service provider that you did not request.
It bears repeating: if someone comes to your home uninvited – no matter how nice he or she seems – lock your door and keep it closed, then dial 911. Deputies and police officers will not mind the call. If the “worker” is legitimate, there will be no problem.
By using common sense and being extra cautious, you can help law enforcement Slam the Door on Scammers! If you would like to obtain a sticker for your front door to serve as a reminder about these scams, contact my office at (954) 831-8902 or visit a local BSO district office and request one.