TOWSON, MD—Detectives with the Baltimore County Police Department remind residents to remain vigilant as the weather warms. This is the time of year when criminals impersonating legitimate contractors, handypersons, or utility workers appear in local neighborhoods looking for unsuspecting homeowners to deceive, scam or burglarize. These transient imposters/deception burglars often work in tandem to gain access to your home. While one person pulls you away to discuss the paving of your driveway, the other culprit is looking to gain entry into the house. Please report any suspicious individuals or activity by immediately calling 911. If possible, take note of license tag numbers, vehicle descriptions, or suspect descriptions without putting yourself at risk. If obtained, be sure to provide the information to the responding officers.
TELL-TALE SIGNS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND:
- The scammers appear unannounced.
- They may drop the name of a neighbor to disarm you.
- They are always offering a deal!
- Remember, if what they offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
STEPS TO PREVENT & PROTECT:
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to verify the contractor’s background.
- Ask a neighbor or friend to recommend a reliable contractor.
- NEVER pay upfront for work; ALWAYS pay after the job.
- Do not let someone in your home you are not expecting – regardless of what they tell you.
- Take a minute to study what the person looks like (height, facial hair, weight, tattoo, etc.)
- If you feel unsafe, call 911 immediately.
EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS CRIME IS EXECUTED:
- The suspect knocks on your door or approaches you while you are outside working in your yard, washing your automobile, etc. They claim to need your help or offer to do the construction or maintenance-type work outside your home. This offer requires you to accompany the suspect to look at your roof, fence, check property lines, etc. While the first suspect diverts your attention outside, a second suspect enters your home and steals money, jewelry, and other valuables before you return. It may be days before you realize you have been victimized.
- Another scenario involves the suspect(s) inquiring about the purchase of an item that you have displayed outside for sale (e.g., car, boat, camper trailer, etc.). The first suspect will distract the homeowner, while a second suspect enters the home and steals your valuables. The suspect sometimes agrees to purchase the item to get you more interested (or, in this scenario, more distracted) and decides to return with the money. For obvious reasons, they never return.
- A similar scenario can also take place inside your home. The suspect will come to your door claiming to be a representative of a utility, cable, telephone company, etc. They will ask you to let them in to test the service. While you are assisting the first suspect, who you believe to be a legitimate representative, the second suspect enters the home and steals your valuables.