Police in Havering have warned of criminals using the Coronavirus scare to trick their way into the homes of elderly and vulnerable people.
Here's what to watch out for...
Anyone over 70 years old has been advised to self isolate at home for 12 weeks. While most of us have reacted to this by looking out for our older friends and neighbours, some nasty types are using the panic to gain entry to their homes.
They have been preying on the fear, telling victims that they are from the NHS or the Red Cross and there to test them for signs of infection.
We have also heard of elderly people having their bank accounts cleared out after giving their card to someone that offered to do some shopping for them.
People in Essex mostly pull together in times of crisis. Sadly we have to protect our elderly from other people as well as this virus!
The first thing we can all do is to check in by phone or - for silver surfers - online. Make sure your elderly or vulnerable neighbours know they can count on someone trustworthy for supplies.
Neighbours can set up a whatsapp or facebook group, to share the load and look out for others around the local area.
Don't forget they also need safely distanced human contact while they protect themselves from infection. You can still chat over the garden fence!
There have been suggestions on social media that people put a sign in their window or even hang a pillowcase out of the letter box to let others know they need some help.
This was probably thought up in good faith but it's a bad idea to advertise fraility. If you see anything like this, ask them to take it down straight away.
We've mentioned before about using a camera to check who's at the door before answering it. This could keep an elderly or vulnerable person safe from distraction burglars as well as exposure to the virus.
You can also think about having indoor CCTV that you can view on your phone or tablet. This means you can keep an eye on your older relatives without having to put them at risk of infection.
All Blake's engineers are DBS checked and will follow official guidelines for keeping themselves and others safe during installations.
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ActionFraud report a massive figure of £800,000 that's been scammed in just one month! They have published advice that includes:
With schools closed and children at home your routines will change. But bad actors are everywhere and criminals don't self-isolate - so keep up your good security habits.
Beat opportunist burglars by making sure doors and windows are securely locked, even when there are people at home.
If you have a smart home alarm, set it in the areas of the house you're not using.
Remind the kids not to leave expensive phones, laptops and tablets lying around where they can be seen from outside.
These are strange times but we must be aware that the old risks are still around. Burglars will take advantage of any distraction!
For a quick way to see how secure your home is, download our free security checklist. Click the image below and get started in under two minutes. It's one less thing to worry about!