Tip: explore the drawing at the top of the post (or click here to open it) to see what the Police and the insurance company advise you to do in order to avoid being a victim of theft.

Parents were always right when they said that you should never talk to strangers! In short: because then they use the information they get from you to come back at your place when you’re not home, break in and steal your stuff. You don’t believe it? It happens to 3 people per hour!

Romanian Police is a rather quiet institution, being more focused on doing than on talking. But we can all agree on being quite a funny character – and at times very clever!, when it comes to PR and advertising campaigns (maybe you remember “The Split” ad). Plus, they are very good at figures.

Some years ago, they partnered with Groupama in a project that brings forth the issue of household robberies. Groupama is the 3rd largest player in the assurance business in Romania, with revenues of over €150 mil. in 2015, having a focus on household assurance. You could very well say meh!, but it’s actually quite an important subject and I”ll tell you why.

First of all, you should know that in Romania almost 3 houses get robbed once every hour. Although the number of such frauds decresed in the past four years (check the middle of the drawing), it’s still quite high: there were more than 28.000 last year. Moreover, 1 out of 4 household robberies happen because of neglect:

  1. People are either too talkative, or…
  2. They want too much fresh air in their house.

To be more specific, 3.600 robberies were possible because people let their doors open. Some of them forgot their keys at home. Others were sleeping in the attic. Some just went briefly for some bread at the corner shop. But some people were just watching TV in the other room!

Police also talks about a lot of cases when snatchers got gold of very well designed tools for opening doors without damaging them. They enter, they steal valuable stuff, and they leave without a trace locking back the door. Sometimes, people notice something’s missing only after weeks or months. They even start trials, believing their colleagues, friends or spouses stole the things or sold them for money. Crazy stuff!

Other 1.800 frauds happened because windows at the first two floors were open and thieves could climb there easily! Or, it happened at the last two floors, in which case they just managed to descend from the roof. So don’t underestimate thieves.

But what is strange is that more than 2.900 robberies took place because people befriended with the wrong persons. Being talkative with someone you just met might be a polite thing to do, but avoid letting them know where you live, how much money you earn, what kind of car you have and when you will leave for holidays.

Here’s the best example: for the conference that I attended in order to make the drawings, the organizer, GMP PR, hired three actors as fake bloggers. They would mingle with the journalists invited to take part in the event and try to find out personal information from them – the kind of information a thief would wanna know.

Meanwhile, I was listening to their conversations in my headphone speakers via microphones hidden in the actor’s jackets. Quite a simple thing to set. In less than half an hour, we managed to find out a lot of useful details. Things like: I have a red Peugeot; I bought a €45.000 apartment and the building has no guards; this Saturday I’m out of town for 8 hours; I live at the first floor in District 6 and never lock my window.

What if it weren’t for just some actors looking for this kind of information? I don’t know about you, guys, but after this conference I never ever leave my door open anymore, not even when I’m at home!

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