File Photo – Lake County Sheriff’s Office. | Photo: Jimmy Bolf.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents that ruse burglaries, which typically target the elderly by distracting them, are on the rise in the county.

Lake County Sheriff Chief of Staff Anthony Vega said that Northern Illinois tends to see an increase in ruse burglaries during the summer months.

Ruse burglars have already been striking this summer in Lake County and surrounding areas, Vega said.

A ruse burglary is a distraction technique used to lure homeowners outside of their homes.

After the homeowner is outside the home and distracted by one individual, another individual or individuals enter the home typically targeting items to steal such as cash, jewelry and other items of value.

Suspects will use many excuses to lure homeowners outside the residence, including claims of being subcontracted by local government, ploys of a broken pipe, schemes for landscaping services such as tree trimming and fence line questions, and more.

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There are also instances when offenders will remain inside with homeowners distracting them while other individuals will enter the home unbeknownst to homeowners, Vega said.

Senior citizens are frequently the intended target of these crimes.

The sheriff’s office says to never allow anyone inside their home without a prescheduled appointment.

If an individual claims affiliation with the local government, ask the person to produce identification and call the government office to verify the individual.

Do not exit your home with an unscheduled visitor, leaving your home and valuables as potential targets, and keep an extra watch on elderly neighbors and family members reminding them of these types of criminal behaviors.

Vega says it is also important to educate your relatives and neighbors as these burglaries are increasing in Lake County.

“When these con artists strike, we often see the vulnerable lose valuable keepsakes that have tremendous sentimental value. Please tell your neighbors, family, and friends about these scams,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said.

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“Never hesitate to call your local law enforcement if you see suspicious activity or a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood,” Idleburg said.