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Burglars are often opportunistic thieves who prey on houses and flats. They seek out any opening that they can take advantage of, specifically doors and windows that are left open or unlocked or are easy to force. Anything of value that they might spot through a window will only spur them on. But it really doesn’t take much to deter these thieves – just smart thinking.

After receiving some tips from Thames Valley Police we wanted to share with you some of the best ways you can keep yourself, your valuables and your home safe. 

What should you do if you get an unexpected phone call asking for personal and/or financial information?

DO
– Consider registering for a phone call restricting services such as BT Privacy, or the Telephone Preference Service. These free services give you the opportunity to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls. Once registration is complete telemarketers are legally bound not to call you.

DON’T
– Give anybody any personal or financial details over the phone, even if they say they are calling from a bank. Say that you will call them back on a registered number.
– Feel bad for putting the phone down if the caller becomes rude, aggressive, or will not let you end the call. 
– Don’t believe anyone calling you first about tech problems, especially Microsoft. Microsoft and other similar organizations will never call you directly to inform you of a software issue. And never give remote computer access to the caller.

What should you do if you get an unexpected doorstep caller?

DO
– Before you answer, stop and think whether you are expecting anyone. Check you have locked the back door and taken the key out. Look through a spy hole or window to see who the caller is.
– Ask someone for identification if they knock on your door and say they need to come into your property because they are a meter reader, police officer, council official, etc. Ask them to come back another time, when you have someone at home with you if you don’t feel comfortable letting them in. 
– Put the chain or door bar on first, if you have one.

DON’T
– Let someone into your house because you don’t want to seem rude or unsympathetic.
–  Agree to have any work done by someone who is just passing by.
– Feel pressured. Don’t agree to sign a contract or hand over money at the door. Think about it and talk to someone you trust.

What should you do to protect your home from burglary?

DO
– Store any high-value items (i.e. jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault
– Make sure your valuables are insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
– Make your neighbours aware if you are going to be away. 
– Make it look like the home is well occupied by keeping the curtains open, keeping your car parked in your driveway, or getting a neighbour to park their car in your driveway.

DON’T
– Keep large amounts of cash in the house.
– Have valuable items on display and visible to people outside. 
– Leave windows and doors open. 

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