We are committed to educating our community members about scams targeting seniors in Santa Clara County; as well as providing up-to-date information offering protection against such scams. This page offers timely data about scams reported, steps to take when targeted, and how to avoid these scams. Guidance is made available as scams are identified.
Receive updates on identified scams targeting seniors by visiting the national database: fraud.org.
Be Alert for “Distraction Burglars”
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office issues a warning that “distraction burglars” are targeting elderly in the community. Local law enforcement has received information concerning people in the area who are attempting burglaries in which suspects pose as utility company workers. The “workers” say they need to come inside the home to assess equipment, discuss bills, or other potential issues with the service.
Utility employees or authorized contractors who need access to your home for repairs will never show up to your home unannounced, without a scheduled appointment in advance. If they claim it is “an emergency”, they should be accompanied by Police or Fire Department personnel.
The suspects could also be approaching homeowners offering dent repair to their vehicles, roof work, or driveway cement repair. Suspects have fabricated an Animal Control scenario, stating a dangerous animal or snake in the backyard.
The fraudulent worker may ask the homeowner to go into the kitchen or backyard and turn on a water faucet to test the water line. When the homeowner or resident is somehow distracted, another person will enter the home and take valuables. In the past, such burglars have even managed to take safes bolted to the floor. The suspects may communicate with each other in a foreign language, often using handheld radios as opposed to cell phones when communicating with each other and avoid detection.
Avoid Detection by Following These Tips:
- Check for proper identification. Legitimate employees always carry proper identification for your review. Additionally, they are usually properly uniformed and arrive in official, marked company vehicles.
- Do not allow these individuals into your home, and do not provide them with your utility bill or other personal information if they ask.
- Do not leave your home unattended to accompany an individual who shows up without an appointment.
- Do call 911 immediately if something seems suspicious and let law enforcement check them out.
If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself from burglaries, speak with a Community Resource Specialist of Sourcewise: (408) 350-3200, option 1.