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UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Investigators say people knocking on doors claiming car trouble and needing to make a phone call could be a ruse to get inside your house and steal your belongings.

Union County deputies say it's happened four times in the last several weeks and is targeting the elderly, mostly in rural parts of the county.

"I would say no, because you don't know who to trust these days," said homeowner Joanna Boatright, who lives in Union County.

She says someone came to her back door a couple weeks ago, but in this instance didn't knock.

"Came around to my back bedroom window too," she said.

We don't know if what happened at Boatright's house is connected to the other incidents. Deputies say it appears the ruse they've received calls about worked once to steal personal items from a home. Pretending to need a phone or asking to use the bathroom, which has also happened, gives thieves enough time to steal from your medicine chest, or make a mental map of your house.

"Trying to get the layout of your house to make a fast in and out," Boatright said. Three times, investigators say the homeowners made sure the person stayed outside, or they told them to leave.

Deputies say when the person left, they got right back into the car that is supposedly broke down and drove away, which shows the car is okay.

Deputies say don't let strangers into your house and if you sense something is wrong, call 911.

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