We don't really like giving you bad news but it's kind of inevitable that in the recession, there's going to be more burglaries and opportunistic crimes. We've seen an increase in people coming to the door claiming to be collecting for charity (at 10pm? We think not) / be from a utility company / sobbing that their mum's gone to hospital and need £10 for the taxi fare to visit her, they only live over the road and will return it next day cross heart and hope to die. (This would be more convincing if it didn't happen every six months.)
It's easy to scoff at others' gullibility, but we're kind hearted people and it's natural to open the door when someone says there's been an accident. So we'd like to remind you of official Met advice - and you might want to remind any elderly relatives or neighbours.
Stop - before you open the door. Are you expecting anyone?
Chain - use a doorchain. They're cheap and effective.
Check - still in doubt? Ask for ID. Call the company they claim to be from. If they're genuine, they won't mind hanging around.
If you're not happy, be polite, firm, and walk away. If you really think someone's on the scam, call your local police station or the police non-emergency line on 0300 123 1212.
OK, parental-style seriousness over, let's get back to business as normal.
Last Updated 19 February 2009