Distraction burglaries are a scam in which the perpetrators pose as water department or city employees who arrive at a house to do emergency repair work. While one of the scammers distracts the resident, the other enters the home and steals items like jewelry and cash.
How to protect yourself:
- Never allow someone to perform driveway sealing or home repairs on the spot; instead, ask for a business card to check the reputation of the business and end the conversation. Don't deliberate or debate the potential repairs as the scammers will make the repairs seem urgent. If possible, get the person's license plate number and call the RBPD at 310-379-5411 to report suspicious activity.
- Never let anyone into your home. If someone says they need assistance, tell them to wait outside while you contact the police to assist them. If the person at the door says he's with the utility company, ask for identification and call the utility company to verify the work. Employees of the city of Redondo Beach and legitimate utility companies will carry identification with them.
- 3. Don't let people roam your property, especially if you're approached while you're outside. While you speak with one person, his accomplices may be checking for open doors and windows.
Senior citizens are often chosen as targets, police said.
"Individuals who commit these crimes are career criminals specializing in home repair fraud and ruse entries," according to a statement from the police department. "They primarily target the elderly who are ideal victims for their crimes. These criminals are experts in profiling senior citizens' homes."
Scammers will often target a home by the style of drapes used, poorly maintained lawns and single garbage cans, police said.
Culprits who are hired to do home repair work may, in addition to or instead of burglarizing the houses, do substandard work and charge a much higher price than that which was originally quoted.
Officers are asking anyone who may have been the victim of a home distraction burglary or scam to file a crime report by calling 310-379-5411.