It’s that time of year again. Please let your elderly family members know to keep their doors locked, and don’t allow anyone they don’t know into their yard and/or home. If someone they don’t know rings their doorbell they can speak to them through the door, there is no need to open the door. If they insist that they open the door, call 911. The police would love to make contact with the senior scam artist, particularly the physically aggressive senior scam artist. Because of the neighborhood I live in, (nice area, historical district, most of the residents are seniors though this is rapidly changing), we get these a few times a year. As William Aprill has said numerous times, just because you avoid stupid people, stupid places, and stupid things doesn’t mean they will avoid you. As a matter of fact they just might seek you out since you have things they wish to take, by force if necessary. (Refer to the three reasons people resort to violence.)
Yesterday I answered my door to find two guys offering to trim the trees that are touching the power lines in my backyard. I decided to let this play out to see how it would go.
I said there are no power lines in my backyard. “Maybe you aren’t aware of them? My associate can show you…”
This is a tried and true scam. powerline touching trees, shingles missing from the roof, or the offer to give you an estimate on spring cleaning yard work are all common scams. It allows them access to your home while the runner takes you on a road trip around your property, keeping you away from the home while they steal everything valuable. Usually they make a bee-line for the bedrooms as that is where most folks keep jewelry and extra cash. They are in and out fast because they are pros. This is their job.
A couple of things happened during this exchange that should set off alarms. He reached for the door handle to open the door. It was locked but he tried several times to open the door. Is this something normal people do? No. Normal people don’t attempt to open the door of a stranger’s home. This is someone who doesn’t recognize boundaries. I’m sure this is how he’s gained access to other homes while running this scam. He said, “I’ll wait here while my partner takes you back there to show you. Put your dogs away, and meet him by the gate…” No. I don’t need to go anywhere and your partner doesn’t need to go into my backyard. Also, they already knew there was a locked gate, and dogs. Another warning sign; they’ve already done their recon. Which leads me to believe this isn’t random, they’ve done enough recon to know the lay of the land. However, they didn’t do enough to know I was home as they seemed genuinely surprised when I answered the door. Which leads to another commonly used tactic. The criminals will ring the doorbell and if there is no answer they will kick in the back door to burglarize the residence. This will, or should, influence your decision to answer that doorbell. Answering it involves interacting with the unknown contact. However, not answering rolls the dice on them kicking the door of what they might think is an unoccupied residence. Be prepared for either.
They continued to push the angle of attempting to gain access to the backyard of my residence while also coercing me into opening the locked storm door through which I was engaging them. I decided I had learned all I needed to learn from this interaction. I let them know I knew what they were up to. Any further action on their part, (other than leaving my property immediately and never returning), would involve a vigorous response. They chose to move on. I have neighbors that are openly and publicly opposed to our right to self-defense. Those residences would be a much better target for the criminal offender. Hell, if the criminal offender tells them they are a convicted felon they will probably give them a hug and help them load their bags with the family valuables. For the rest of us, pass the word to your loved ones particularly the elderly as that’s the most frequently targeted demographic. It’s that time of year, again.