Burglary scam targeting the elderly hits Tampa Bay Area

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A scam spotted last year in South Florida has arrived in Tampa Bay.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office shared a social media warning Thursday after three reported break-ins targeting the elderly. Known as the "distraction scam," authorities said thieves pose as or home repair workers and lure elderly victims outside their homes.

The crook's associate enter unnoticed through a backyard or side yard and steal the victim's belongings. The burglars use walkie-talkies or cellphones to communicate.

In some cases, the crooks have pretended to represent the City of Lake Wales, according to the Polk County Sheriff's office.

The law enforcement agency asked residents to spread the message to elderly relatives and provided the following safety tips:

  • Do not allow solicitors into your house or go outside and speak with them.
  • Ask for business credentials.
  • Call the person's employer if you're uncertain.
  • Consider Posting a "no soliciting sign" on your home.
  • Do not answer the door.
  • If you see anything suspicious, alert law enforcement.

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