At least two families were robbed by men claiming to be employees of a utility company in Wisconsin last month.
According to an article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the first incident involved two men. They knocked on the door of an 87-year-old woman’s home and told her they worked for the utility company. They asked her to go down to the basement and run the water for 30 minutes. One of the men accompanied her.
The second thief remained upstairs with the woman’s 93-year-old brother.
The woman eventually asked the thief in the basement for identification. He claimed he worked for the city and didn’t have an ID. The woman asked him to leave and followed him upstairs. The two thieves then left.
It was the following day that the victim discovered that she was missing jewelry valued at about $800.
In another incident, a man knocked on the door of an 81-year-old woman’s home. He told her that he worked for We Energies and needed to check her faucets.
As in the first incident, the thief told the homeowner, along with her 53-year-old daughter, to go to the basement and run the water for 30 minutes. He advised them to watch the water coming from the faucet to make sure it was working.
In the meantime, the thief wandered around upstairs, helping himself to “numerous pieces of jewelry and other valuable keepsake items, according to the police report.”
The daughter said that the scammer was wearing a yellow and orange vest.
What we can learn from these incidents
Don’t let strangers into your home without making sure they are legitimate. These two incidents prove that bad people will pretend to be someone they aren’t to trick you into letting them in. It’s a real threat. Yet, some people still open their doors to anyone.
I’ve no doubt that the thieves targeted elderly people because they are of a different generation. A generation where we could trust each other. A generation where we could open our doors to strangers without fear. A generation that is now, unfortunately, easily duped because they are too trusting.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an age like that anymore. And we must check ID’s before opening our doors. Even if they appear to be wearing the right uniform (police uniform, utility vest, and even religious attire), they could still be a thug in disguise.
Related Post No Stranger Gets in Your House. Ever!
Asking for ID after they are in your home is too late!
If a stranger knocks on your door, ask who they are and what they want before opening the door. Especially if you aren’t expecting anyone.
Ask for ID. Have them show it through the peephole or a window. If that isn’t possible, get their information verbally and call the company, precinct, parish, delivery company, whatever, to verify that they are who they say they are.
And if they refuse to show ID, or you can’t verify that they are legitimate, do not open the door. Call the police if you feel threatened. And if you’re wrong, and they are legit, so what? A little embarrassment is better than being robbed, or worse.
I cringe to think what horrible things could have happened to those homeowners if the men had been more than just petty thieves.
Be alert. Be suspicious. Be vigilant. Don’t open your doors to strangers.