Tis the Season of Distraction… be alert, don’t be a victim

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t can happen any time of year but it is statistically proven that crimes of distraction, leading to theft, are highest during the winter months from November thru March.

Why? There are several theories and facts that cause this.

Up north, extreme weather especially like this year’s, the worst on record, will drive people down to our area to escape. Not all of them are nice people. Many are criminals who make their living preying on the elderly, the unsuspecting and the naive.

Their modus operandi (M.O.) is to startle or surprise the victim with some bogus claim or story, develop their trust or attention and then “rip them off” by distraction. A not so nice but self-proclaimed term for a lot of these people are “gypsy crimes.” Many of these subjects are professional thieves, some from the U.S.A. and others from parts of Eastern Europe. They are involved in pickpocketing, purse thefts while shopping, bogus repair work and scams galore, such as the old bait and switch or lottery scams on tickets. Many people have been victims of a distraction scam whereby an unknown person arrives at the door only to claim to be an inspector or engineer and tells you that your fence or roof, a seawall, etc. is in need of immediate repair and has you join them to see what the problem is. As you leave to go outside to inspect, another accomplice stays behind to burglarize or create theft from inside your house, while you are outside. By the time you realize you have been had, your property is gone and so are they.

Don’t fall VICTIM to these criminals and scammers. If you did not call someone to give you an estimate or were unaware of any problem, DO NOT let them in your house or scam you. If they insist, and are suspicious, then call the police, your police, and we will be happy to introduce ourselves to them and find out who they really are.

You MUST help yourself by protecting yourself and be on guard and be alert. Keep in mind they are very clever, very friendly, very convincing and you will think they are there to help you. They are not. Trust us, not them!

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