Police issue ‘cold caller’ warning following report that men tried to enter a Ballymena home to ‘check electricity’

POLICE are urging the public in Ballymena to be on their guard against cold callers.

The warning comes after an incident in Ballymena yesterday (Friday 13th November) afternoon which was reported to police at around 4:15pm.

A PSNI spokesperson said it was reported that two men attempted to gain entry to a house in Dunclug Gardens, claiming they were from a utility company and needed to check the electricity.

“Thankfully, the woman was able to stop the men from entering her home and they fled, however, she was left shaken by the incident. The two men are reported to have worn dark-coloured clothing and face masks.”

Detective Inspector McKenna said: “I would urge anyone who may have been in the area and saw any suspicious activity, or who knows of a similar incident, to contact us on 101 and quote reference number 1252 of 13/11/20.

“I also want to take this opportunity to make a direct appeal to friends and loved ones of older people, or those who are vulnerable in our communities to please, take a few minutes and have a conversation with them about what they can do to help protect themselves and their homes.

“There are a number of initiatives which are really helpful, including the ‘No Cold Calling’, the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme, QuickCheck, Neighbourhood Watch and ScamwiseNI Partnership and details of all of these can be found on our website at psni.co.uk

“For example, the Nominated Neighbour Scheme allows householders to nominate a person who will deal with callers to their home. If a caller arrives when you are alone in the house, they can be shown a card instructing them to contact your ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity avoiding the need for you to open your front door.

“You can contact your local crime prevention officer on 101 about the Nominated Neighbour Scheme and QuickCheck. By using QuickCheck, people can phone 101 to check the identity of callers to their home who claim to represent an energy or water network company.

“Finally, I would really urge people to always ask for proof of identity. If people are who they say they are, they will be happy to show you their ID.

“To avoid becoming the victim of a scam visit ScamwiseNI at www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni or @ScamwiseNI

“If you have any concerns please speak to your Local Policing Team Officer or your Crime Prevention Officer on 101.”

Follow this advice when answering the door:

  • Report suspicious persons or vehicles being driven in a suspicious manner immediately.
  • Before answering the front door, make sure the back door is locked.
  • If you have a door chain, remember to use it before opening the door. If not, we recommend you get one installed.
  • Ask the caller for their identification and check it carefully.
  • Ask them to wait outside and close the door – genuine callers will not mind.
  • Ring Quick Check on 101. The call will be answered personally and promptly by a trained police call handler. They will check with the company that the person at the door is genuine. If they are not or they think that there is something suspicious, the operator will be able send the police to you.
  • Do not let anyone into the property until you are satisfied as to who they are.

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