Sticker scams increasing home insurance prices

Organised gangs are working harder than ever to find creative methods of burglary.

Despite UK burglary rates dropping by around 35% in the last ten years, newer, more convoluted efforts are being made by burglars to enter homes undetected. The most recently reported burglary scheme has been dubbed the ‘Sticker Scam’, and is said to be partially responsible for rising home insurance prices.

Previously, burglars were mainly considered to be opportunists who preyed on less secure houses. Those with open windows, insecure fencing, and lacking burglar alarms were seen to be easy targets for the opportunist burglar.

However, over the last few years, affordable and effective security measures have been invented, and marketed to the average wage earner. This means the majority of houses in England and Wales are now far better protected than in 1993, the peak of burglary figures in the last 20 years. Despite this, burglary hasn’t subsided entirely, largely due to sophisticated burglary syndicates creating elaborate plots to target houses.

In Wandsworth, London, the ‘Sticker Scam’ has become a high profile case with a great deal of media attention. Burglary gangs are sending out scouts prior to a burglary, to find homes which are considered easy targets due to lax security measures. By placing stickers which advertise a fake locksmith service, burglars can later identify the best houses from which to steal.

Wandsworth Council’s crime prevention spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, has released a statement “urging local residents to keep a very close eye out for these stickers and if they find one to remove it straight away” and to “beef up their home security”.

According to the Telegraph, large insurance companies have been warned of these scams. Due to statements released by both police and claims experts, prices of home insurance seem to have increased within these particular areas. According to Ian Crowder of AA Insurance, burglaries such as these can increase insurance premiums by up to 10 percent within that local area. This is due to an intensification of risk factors, with the likelihood of a claim being paid out. Esure have also warned that premiums can double in this very circumstance.

With all this said, insurance companies are issuing warnings to be on the lookout for local burglary activity. Darren Hull, household manager at Direct Line, specifically urges people to be on the lookout for new ‘flyer-droppers’, explaining that when placing a flyer through the door, scouts can lean on the door to assess the lock situation.

With increased media coverage of this particular scam, it seems that the message from both insurers and police officials is to increase security measures and ensure a high level of vigilance within your neighbourhood.

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