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Telephone survey scams can set up burglaries

Deceitful use of a telephone can help a burglar break into your home.
Deceitful use of a telephone can help a burglar break into your home.
Dan Vale

The Baltimore property crime rate is more than 50% higher than the national property crime rate. This article will discuss one way that Baltimore area residents can protect themselves from burglars.

What a burglar does not know can hurt him. Examples of harmful ignorance might include:

  1. The times when members of a household will and will not be home.
  2. Whether or not a house has a burglar alarm system.
  3. The type of burglar alarm system that is installed in the house.

Telephone survey scams can give burglars this type of information. For example, a burglar might call a homeowner and claim to be a representative of a well-known computer company. In return for answering survey questions, the homeowner can get free software installed in the house computer. A technician would stop by the house when a member of the family is home and would do the installation. After pretending to juggle schedules, the burglar will know when nobody is home. That is the time when he will strike.

Some of the survey questions he might ask could include innocent sounding questions such:

  1. What type of computer equipment do you own?
  2. Does your family home have smoke detectors?
  3. Does your family home have fire extinguishers?

When the burglar gets the homeowners relaxed and answering such survey questions, the homeowners might let down their guards and answer survey questions such as, “Does your home have a security system? What type is it?” The burglar is trying to find out if the doors and windows of the house are protected and how they are protected.

The easiest way to avoid scam surveys is to refuse to answer telephone survey questions. If a homeowner wants to participate in the telephone survey, however, the homeowner should follow a procedure in which he:

1. Asks the caller to call back at an arranged time.

2. Makes sure the caller gives the exact name of his organization.

3. Never uses any contact details provided by the caller, because that could involve contacting his partner in crime.

4. Looks up the organization on the internet or in a phone book, and calls it.

5. Asks if the survey is legitimate.

6. Assumes that, if no such organization is listed, the telephone survey is probably a scam.

Knowledge is power. Do not give power to burglars.

What has been your experience, if any, with phone scams? What survey questions were you asked? Please comment below.

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