Warning over unexpected callers

POLICE are advising residents in the Banbridge area to always exercise caution when dealing with unexpected callers to their homes.

This advice follows the report of a suspicious vehicle with three occupants on board, calling to houses in Rathfriland on Monday 14th May. The vehicle involved was a white Ford Transit with southern registration plates and was in the Aughnavallog Cottages area at around 4pm.

The three occupants of the van were calling door to door selling toys, but it is suspected that they were bogus callers possibly with criminal intent.

It is worth remembering that bogus callers will use all sorts of tactics to gain access to a victim’s home. Genuine callers will not mind being challenged about the authenticity of their identity.

Everyone should follow this advice when dealing with unexpected visitors:

• Before answering your door, ensure your back door is locked.

• Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.

• Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully and telephone QuickCheck on 0800 013 22 90 to verify the caller is from the company they claim to be. QuickCheck is a free service and operates 24 hours a day.

• Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house.

• If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.

If you have elderly relatives, neighbours, or provide care for anyone who may fall prey to this type of crime, make them aware of these messages. Police are always keen to hear from anyone who may have been approached at their home by a caller purporting to be from a legitimate company, or by anyone using an excuse to enter your home. Police would also advise householders to refrain from keeping large sums of money in the house.

If you would like advice on crime prevention and how to make your home safer, please contact your local crime prevention officer in Banbridge on 0845 600 8000.