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A group of males have recently been involved in committing distraction burglaries in the Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock areas, by posing as Police Officers.

They have fake but very convincing Essex Police Identity Cards and use these to trick and scam their way into vulnerable people’s homes with the intent to steal cash and valuables. They have to date mainly been concentrating on elderly females, but everyone is at risk.

If anyone calls at your property posing as a police officer please do not let them in without first checking their identity. Please telephone 101 to verify that the person at your door is a bona-fide officer.

Best advice is not to open the door to anyone you do not know or are not expecting. A good tip is to open an upstairs window if possible and speak to the caller, asking their details, before opening the door until you are certain who they are. If you mention that you are going to call the police to verify their identity, a valid police officer will be happy to wait whereas it is likely that a bogus caller will disappear quickly. Please try and note a brief description of the person at the door and give this to the police if the caller proves not to be a bona-fide officer.

Other types of bogus caller also pretend to be from utility companies or similar organisations. The above advice applies in all cases. Some general advice is given below:

General advice:

  • Representatives from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. Genuine callers make appointments in advance and will always be happy to wait while you check their identity.  Some utility companies now also operate a password scheme for extra security – please call your provider for details.
  • Police or bank officials would never visit you or call you by telephone and ask for your bank details or ask you to withdraw large sums of cash.
  • Be wary of strangers who call unexpectedly. If in doubt keep them out!
  • Bogus callers succeed because they’re believable – they’re well practised and will have a convincing story and set of excuses ready. 
  • Next time the doorbell rings remember – check before you open the door.

Who to call:

If you suspect you, or someone you know has been visited by a bogus caller please call the Police as soon as possible – you may well prevent other crimes occurring.

In an emergency dial 999, otherwise report incidents to Essex Police on 101.

You can also report any crimes or incidents free and anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you have been sold shoddy products or bought overpriced goods at the door you can report this to Consumer Direct on 03454 04 05 06