CRIMINALS are tricking elderly and vulnerable people into thinking they are officials in an attempt to force their way inside homes to steal property.
The National Crime Victims Helpline has reported an increase in the number of people who have been conned at their front door.
The criminal will usually coax the occupant of a house into opening the door by claiming they are on official business.
Crime Victims Helpline co-ordinator Maeve Ryan said highly publicised campaigns like the TV changeover and door-to-door fundraising had created opportunities for such robberies.
She said that in many cases once the door was opened, the perpetrator would force entry and intimidate the occupant, before stealing from them. Some victims have reported losing thousands of euro.
In 2011, more than 3,000 calls were made to the victim support service but that figure has already increased this year to 3,350.
People have been advised never to open their doors to strangers unless specific arrangements have been made and ID is produced. Ms Ryan also urged people not to keep large amounts of cash in their homes.