Someone successfully posing as a health inspector, police officer or even a Secret Service agent happens every single day. Posing as a water inspector, I once gained access to people's homes by saying I needed to "check the colorization of their water," as I demonstrated on The Montel Williams Show here. A fake badge and a uniform of any kind can do wonders.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is warning customers about scams in which people pose as BGE employees in person or over the telephone to steal money, valuables or credit card information. The article states that according to BGE, "Impostors also might appear at a home or business wearing official-looking clothing and showing fake credentials. BGE workers usually only require entry into a home for a gas or electric emergency, to check equipment, read meters or start or stop service. All BGE employees and contractors carry company identification badges showing their name, photograph and identification number."
People can easily pose as city officials, delivery or service people, or as someone whose car broke down and needs assistance. The moment you open that door, you are risking your family's safety.
My family's number-one rule is that we do not open doors to strangers. That's it, end of story. My younger ones want to show how big they are by getting the door, but they now know better that they aren't at all allowed to open it without a parent's permission.
The rules apply to grown-ups, too.
- Always have your screen door and your entry door locked at all times.
- Install a surveillance system at each entrance that gives you a facial and full-body view of visitors.
- If you order products to be delivered to your home, specify "No signature required." This way, you can set up a place for the deliveries that allows delivery people to drop the package off.
- Any time a city worker knocks on your door, call city hall to verify that the person should be there.
- It's not enough to check a badge, license or credentials. IDs can easily be faked.
- Have your home alarm system on all day-even while you are home.