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Posted on: November 18, 2020

Be Aware of Ruse Entry Burglaries

Person locking front door of home

The Northbrook Police have received reports of ruse entry burglaries, a crime where the perpetrator seeks to distract or draw a resident out of their home. Criminals may impersonate workers from gas, cable, electric, or tree companies; they are also posing as employees from the Village’s “Water Department” with the intent to gain access and burglarize your home. While the resident of the home is occupied, an accomplice enters the home to steal valuables.

Prevention Tips:

  • If you don't know who is at the door and aren't expecting anyone, don't open it. Look through your window or peep hole before opening the door.
  • Ask for identification. Check the identity of the visitor by calling the company they are purporting to be from. Use the telephone number listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider (check their website or a previous bill/mailing). Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the visitor as they may be part of the scam. 
  • Do not open or unlock the door while attempting to verify the identity of the visitor. If possible, take a photo of the person and their vehicle.
  • Do not agree to go to your backyard or side of the house with this person. If you must, make sure to get your keys and lock your front door behind you first.
  • Keep doors and windows secure at all times.
  • Safeguard your valuables and documents with your personal information.

If someone at your door claims to be from the Village's Water Department or Public Works Department, please take note of the following:

1.  Public Works employees will arrive in a marked vehicle with a number and the Village seal. If you’re unsure, secure your front door and contact Public Works at 847-272-4711 (Mon-Fri from 7am-3pm) or the Police non-emergency line at 847-564-2060 (24/7) to verify the person’s identity.

2. Public Works employees do not need to enter homes unless they are called out by the property owner for a specific issue (leaking meter, frozen meter, pressure issues, scheduled water meter replacement, sewer back-up, flooding issue).

3. Public Works employees may come to the door to notify residents of something, such as water being shut off for a water main break repair or construction work that will impact their access to their driveway. Employees may also have to conduct an inspection for a tree removal permit and take pictures, however they will notify the resident before entering a backyard if needed. These instances do not require employees to come into the home.

4. There are times when a Public Works employee has to go into a resident’s home. However, it is usually not without an appointment or responding to a resident call/request for service (e.g. a leaking water meter, sewer back-up, or flooding issue). Non-emergency requests are typically scheduled with the residents; again, you can verify the employee by calling Public Works or the Police Department.

5. If you are suspicious and have not verified the worker, do not agree to go to your basement, backyard, or side of your house without taking precautions. Make sure to get your keys and lock your doors and windows behind you first. Do not leave workers unattended in your home. 

When to Call the Police:

  • If you are suspicious
  • If someone forces entry into your home or enters without permission
  • If you notice valuables missing shortly after someone visits your home
  • To request an officer to your residence to verify the person’s identity and job affiliation

For emergencies, call 911. To reach the Police Department's non-emergency line, call 847-564-2060 and press 0.

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