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Ruse Burglaries Increase Across US, to San Francisco Bay Area

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September 27, 2013
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Ruse Burglaries Increase Across US, to San Francisco Bay Area

Ruse burglaries, long associated with the Chicago suburbs, are becoming more frequent in other areas of the US – California in particular. Normally spring, summer and fall are the peak seasons for these nasty scams that are all about separating you from your cash and prized possessions - and this post should serves as a reminder, with warmer weather still around in some locales.

For those new to the topic, ruse burglaries start out with a deception and a distraction, and often result in significant losses for the unwary homeowner. In this news story from San Francisco’s Bay Area, the homeowner experienced a similar bad experience – and a sense of violation. And in this case the burglar pretended to be a handyman looking for work. Classic…

Whether it's a search for snakes in Burlingame or a roof in need of repair in San Carlos, regional law enforcement agencies are encouraging residents to be aware of a new crime trend they're dubbing as "distraction burglary."

It’s great that Bay Area police are jumping on this method of theft while it’s still relatively new there. Chicago police have been trying to clue in the Windy City’s residents to the ruse for years, but for some reason they have had trouble getting the word out – multiple reports surface every year.

Details on the Scam

San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Wednesday sent out an alert to residents about an incident on Tuesday where a man posing as a roofing contractor approached a resident at his Elm Street home and told him that he may be in need of roof repairs. The alleged roofer told the man that he had just completed a roofing job nearby and had some leftover materials that he could use to repair the roof.

The problem is that this approach is actually credible: I’ve had the same spiel delivered to me over the years about the roof, the driveway, painting, etc. And that’s why this technique is so diabolical: it works!

What the Thieves Did Next

While the resident joined the alleged roofer on the roof to inspect the damage, two additional unknown suspects, a woman and a man, entered the home through the front door and rummaged through the home, according to the sheriff's office. Drawers in the bedroom and a desk in the living room had been opened and rummaged through, the victim reported to the sheriff's office. The burglary scam is a new trend in which a two- or three-suspect team uses a distraction technique to gain access to the home by one suspect or suspects while the other suspect occupies the victim.

Classic Ruse Approach: Pretense & Accomplice

Often what happens in a ruse burglary is that one of two or more individuals come to the door and tell the resident they work for a home contracting, or even a utility or cable company and they offer services, or need to do work in the backyard. While the homeowner is distracted, one or more accomplices will enter the home looking for valuables, notably jewelry or cash.

Being savvy to how burglars operate is more important than ever – and while protecting against the ruse may not be one of FrontPoint’s Top 10 Home Security Tips, it’s still a good tactic to know. Anything that increases your safety, security, and peace of mind is important to us. We’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US – and we earned that spot with technology, pricing, and customer satisfaction that leaves the others far behind. These days, you even have to worry about some of the alarm salesmen coming to your door! That’s why smart shoppers choose FrontPoint – just read the reviews, and you’ll want a FrontPoint wireless home alarm system, too.

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