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Bogus callers

You should always be aware when someone you don’t know calls at your door.

Bogus callers may be young or old, male or female and may claim to represent an organisation like the council, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) or Northern Ireland Water. Some may pretend to be looking for directions, selling items or cleaning windows.

They may also use ‘props’ such as a fake identity card or a company uniform and can be very persuasive and convincing.

Protect yourself from bogus callers

If you receive an unexpected visitor make sure you:

  • Ask who it is before opening the door.
  • Make sure your back door is locked before answering your front door. Thieves have been known to work in pairs, with one entering through the back while the other distracts the homeowner at the front door.
  • Keep a security bar or chain on your door while speaking to the caller.
  • Ask for identification before letting someone in - a proper ID should contain a photo of the person carrying it and, if in doubt, you should call the company in question and ask if the caller is legitimate.
  • Plan ahead - are you expecting anyone? Has someone made an appointment to see you?
  • Most large companies will notify you in advance if they plan to pay you a visit and they will be happy to wait while you check their identification.
  • Trust your instincts - a genuine official can always make an appointment to see you at a later date or when someone is with you.
  • You can also call Quick Check on 0800 013 2290. A trained operator will contact the organisation that the caller claims to be representing to check if they are genuine.  Find out more on the PSNI website.

Remember, these same rules apply to telephone enquiries too, particularly if you receive a call requesting personal information, such as bank details.

What to do if you receive a visit from a bogus caller

Call the police and tell them what has happened, making sure to describe the caller as best you can.

You should also tell your neighbours, community groups and local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, in case the caller decides to try other homes in your area.

You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you prefer to speak to someone anonymously.