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Is Your Neighbour Stealing from You?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 17 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbbour Stealing Theft Wifi Gas

Theft is a real problem in the 21st century – and we don’t mean stealing the milk from your doorstep, it’s more serious, sometimes invisible things that you should look out for.

Of course, most neighbours are not problem neighbours at all and they wouldn’t dream of helping themselves to your property – but the lines do become blurred for some people about what is acceptable and what isn’t, and some are downright blatant when it comes to misappropriating what isn’t theirs.

Neighbour Stealing your WiFi

Most people have some sort of WiFi these days and unfortunately, some people don’t think they should have to pay for it. If your neighbour ‘piggybacks’ your WiFi, they could cause you all sorts of connection problems, slow down your broadband speed too - but more importantly they can steal files from your computers or infect your network with viruses and malware at the same time. It’s not just rude, it’s illegal, and potentially they could be prosecuted under The Communications Act 2003, which says a "person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence".

If you notice intermittent problems with your connection, or your broadband appears to slow down at certain times every day, you could have a problem with someone stealing your WiFi from you.

The first thing to do if you suspect a WiFi thief is get on the case and check your wireless network log. How you do this varies depending on your computer, but if you look at your network and see more devices connected to it than there should be, you may have a neighbour stealing from you.

To stop them stealing, turn on your WEP or WPA encryption. Many broadband suppliers do this straight away and give you the ‘key’ or password when you set up broadband with them, but if yours is optional, make sure it’s activated. You’ll have to check your router instructions to find out how to do this.

Neighbour Stealing your Post

Stolen and lost mail could potentially be a real problem in these days of identity theft, so if you suspect your parcels or post are going astray courtesy of the neighbours, you need to get onto it straight away. If anything that could be used in identity theft goes missing, such as a passport, driving licences, credit or debit card, report it to the sender straight away.

You should also tell Royal Mail if you think that someone’s been helping themselves to your mail – in some cases people may even set up false mail redirection on your address! Contact the investigations unit immediately if you suspect anything. Telephone the Royal Mail Customer Care Team on 08457 740 740.

Meanwhile, practical solutions to the issue of your disappearing mail could be a lockable, private post box, having important mail or parcels delivered to you at work rather than at home, or asking the post office for your own private post office box, so that when you receive a package, it’s held at the post office until you pick it up.

Danger – Neighbour stealing your Gas or Electricity

This situation is surprisingly common – we’ve all heard of people being astonished by astronomical gas and electricity bills out of the blue. In some cases, it could be that a crafty neighbour is stealing your fuel – but this isn’t just rude, it’s criminal and potentially extremely dangerous too.

There are tens of thousands of instances of this type of theft every year, costing the public more than £100m. Sometimes people can’t afford their bills so feel it’s OK to help themselves for free, but it’s also common for people to interfere with meters when they are involved in illegal drug cultivation.

People who have stolen energy can be prosecuted under several pieces of legislation, so they need to be reported as soon as you realise what they are up to. If you think they’ve interfered with your gas or electricity meters, contact the UK Revenue Protection Association (UKPRA) and report them straight away. The UKRPA is a trade association that’s involved with detecting and dealing with electricity and gas meter tampering and stealing of gas or electricity supplies.If you think they have somehow interfered with your internal wiring, report them to the police and take legal advice.

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[Add a Comment]
Neighbours talked enthusiastically about powerline adapters, when I installed them to resolve patchy Internet, I heard my neighbour roar 'they're not compatible', he was visibly astonished and furious: his attempt on that occasion to steal my wifi thwarted.
Drained - 22-Apr-17 @ 1:29 AM
I topped £155 of electricity between November 3rd 2016 until November 27th 2016 less than a month. I topped £50 over a 6day period I live in a two bedroom flat with my son and I work 9-5 Monday to Friday. My workplace is a hour away from my home so as you can imagine I spend more time away from home than I do in the home. I have reported this matter on several occasions and nothing is being done about it. I am so financially drained I cannot afford to live. Moreover, I now believe for certain somebody is bridging my electric, I am not sure how I go about finding them out! If anyone could help I would really appreciate. Thanks, Khadz.
Khadz - 9-Dec-16 @ 9:08 AM
I have a prepay gas meter. Two days ago it had £10 worth of credit. I had my heating on but it is still pretty mild and the boiler only kicked in a few times briefly. Today my gas cut off unexpectedly.I checked the meter and all my creditwas gone. I'm now using the emergency credit. Is it possible for my downstairs neighbour to have somehow stolen my gas? The meter box is outside, right next to the neighbour's meter and both can be easily opened with a standard plastic Alan key provided by our social landlord.
EJ - 17-Oct-16 @ 9:36 PM
FEDUPNEIGHBOUR - Your Question:
The flat I live in is a property that's split into 3 flats. I rent through a letting agency, the problem neighbour owns the property downstairs. Initial problems started with her not agreeing to us having fibre optic internet service and had cancelled 2 of our appointments to get it connected. We have been living there 5 months now with no WIFI. We have now got another service to come fix us up. Spoken to her a few times but generally avoids us and contradicts herself with different excuses, when we try to ask being this to her attention she runs away. Recent excuse is doesn't want wires running up the front of the house and will be getting rid of the current ones. We have even told her that we will be going with a different firm hoping that this will suffice and not burn any bridges with her and blocking any interference. But today she opened the letter from the company we are due to get WIFI from. I am beyond raging about this, any advice on what I can do or sign post to any advice. I know this is illegal but not an immediate police matter. HELP PLEASE #nightmare neighbour

Our Response:
Firstly contact the letting agency and/or the owner of your flat. How has she managed to cancel your appointments? If she is opening your post your should make a formal complain to the Royal Mail- they’ll investigate. Keep the envelopeas evidence and send it with your complaint to Royal Mailcustomer services. It won't do any harm to mention that it was your neighbour that opened it. Unless you require access via your neighbour's property, just go ahead and sort out the internet connection with another firm.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Sep-16 @ 1:02 PM
The flat I live in is a property that's split into 3 flats.I rent through a letting agency, the problem neighbour owns the property downstairs.Initial problems started with her not agreeing to us having fibre optic internet service and had cancelled 2 of our appointments to get it connected.We have been living there 5 months now with no WIFI.We have now got another service to come fix us up.Spoken to her a few times but generally avoids us and contradicts herself with different excuses, when we try to ask being this to her attention she runs away.Recent excuse is doesn't want wires running up the front of the house and will be getting rid of the current ones.We have even told her that we will be going with a different firm hoping that this will suffice and not burn any bridges with her and blocking any interference.But today she opened the letter from the company we are due to get WIFI from. I am beyond raging about this, any advice on what I can do or sign post to any advice.I know this is illegal but not an immediate police matter.HELP PLEASE #nightmare neighbour
FEDUPNEIGHBOUR - 7-Sep-16 @ 3:05 PM
Hello So I moved into a council property approximately 18 months ago and have had issues with my neighbors. I am from a Chinese family and have been subject to racist behaviour and slander due to having the largest house on the street. I am used to this and have been subject to it my whole life and have learned to try and ignore it. More recently this has been directed mostly at myself. For the past few months my neighbor has been accessing my internet and personal information. Inviting people round daily and trying to slander me to as many people as possible. They openly talk in the street about me have spoken about what I buy on eBay, specific videos I watch online (nothing dodgy) and even my account balance. Somehow accessing personal photos from my laptop which has not been used for over a year (again nothing dodgy). They even spy on me and as a result I try to keep my windows closed and curtains pulled. They have also had conversations outside about my bank balance and as a result I have called the fraud team and closed all online access (they say that they see no points where someone else has accessed my account). Anything I look at on my phone including planning a future holiday is being discussed despite me not yet sharing this information with anyone and talk specifically of things I have looked at. I suff r from depression and do not really leave my house apart from when I go to work and these issues cause me further mental distress. I am not a confrontational person and try to keep to myself. I have had recent conversations with citizens advice, have contacted the council and even phoned the police about this. I have had a recent interview in my own home with police where I only got half the information out before he tried to dismiss me and turned into a talk about mental health and how I must be paranoid and he has no knowledge into how a neighbour could access information such as this. He has also had a conversation with my neighbour which seems to have resulted with no outcome. My question to people is not am I crazy as the police officer seemed to try and make out. My question is how exactly are they accessing this information, I know it is possible due to things like the celebrity phone hacking scandal. What other ways can I pursue this issue?How can I prove they are doing this to me as they are actively trying to ruin my life. Has anyone else suffered from problems such as this and what did you do?
random123 - 4-Aug-16 @ 7:59 PM
Good morning. I am really tired I don't know what to do anymore. They are more than evi full of robush. I don't know what to do or where else to go...
Esohe - 21-Jun-16 @ 6:32 AM
Sue - Your Question:
We have lived in our property for 18 years and the neighbour has just bought next door we are not joined he is now saying that part of our drive is his maturely he should of had a surveyor and picked up that apparently on the deeds it's classed as no mans land it's about six inches between the garages that my husband now stores logs if the fence is moved over we won't be able to use our drive and no one can use the space between the garages just wondered if there is anything I can do he now has a soliisoter involved

Our Response:
If it's not your neighbour or your (i.e "no mans land") there is a chance you could claim adverse possession, having used it for the past 18 years. You might want to seek advice from a solicitor on this.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Apr-16 @ 2:42 PM
We have lived in our property for 18 years and the neighbour has just bought next door we are not joined he is now saying that part of our drive is his maturely he should of had a surveyor and picked up that apparently on the deeds it's classed as no mans land it's about six inches between the garages that my husband now stores logs if the fence is moved over we won't be able to use our drive and no one can use the space between the garages just wondered if there is anything I can do he now has a soliisoter involved
Sue - 21-Apr-16 @ 5:27 PM
After discovering my neighbours were using my electricity, I turned off the circuit for a while.Another neighbour had experienced the same thing from them and had warned me, this is only one of many illegal and malicious things they have done. I mentioned it to the Police when they came over about something else but they seemed not to believe me!How do I stop them from having access to my wiring which is my side of the party wall?
Drained - 10-Mar-16 @ 3:25 AM
J - Your Question:
I recently moved to a new accommodation. It consists of 6 rooms. I wanted to move my talk talk phone and broadband services. Talk talk told me that there is a line coming through the property and I was given a new telephone number for that line. My services will be remotely activated by but openreach on the 21/09/15. I notice that the master socket for phone and broadband already had a skybox-hub connected to it but there is no other master socket. A tenant said he has been using this as he had a verbal agreement with a previous tenant who left about 2 months ago. I was furious with talk talk when I was assured I would have my own line. I need it for work and my communication with family in the Far East. Talk talk sent a bit openreach engineer and he tested the described earlier.It was mine all along. I asked one of the tenants to witness what the bit engineer said. I now have a router - secured with wp2. On the night of the same day the tenant verbally assaulted me for messing up an arrangement with the previous owner of the line. Apparently he was paying into the account of that tenant and all the other tenants paid a nominal fee to use the wifi. My question is, legally I am the bill payer according to bt and talktalk. I don't want to share a 2 mb speed to 5 other people I do not know, whose virtual activities I do not know. Every activity if I decide to share the line would have to be monitored - I do not have the time for this as I work 6 days a week. I fear when I am out they might physically remove my router and put their own and abuse my connection. Please help as I want to resolve the issue with diplomacy and would least consider legal means.

Our Response:
Firstly- what does your landlord say? Ideally he/she could help resolve this by laying down some simple rules as part of the tenancy agreement. If it's possible to continue both arrangements side by side there is no reason why you should have to share.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Sep-15 @ 9:51 AM
Hi, I have read the comments above and I have experienced similar issues to the above but at a higher level. My neighbours are criminals who have been tormenting me for the past five years. They steal my electricity, gas, hack into my landline and even mobile phones. It is 1 couple and they both don't work. They stole my wifi and interfered in my network a lot I had to disconnect it. The woman has children and doesn't mind collaborating with her husband. My bills used to be so high until I changed the method from bill to card and key but they still manage to steal my energy. It's so absurd! They even steal my mail and listen to my telephone conversations.
Froys - 1-Aug-15 @ 1:59 PM
@lindylou. Can your local councillor or MP shed any light on why no action has been taken?
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Jun-15 @ 2:16 PM
where do you go for help! I have been harassed,abused and intimidated for 3years from my next door neighbour and all with the full support from the housing trust.he is a cannabis addict who pretends to be disabled,he sleeps all day and spends his nights slamming doors,dragging furniture around,listening to loud music and his son visits him from anytime from 10pm to 1am.I have called the police 3 times this week. desperate to find someone who will enforce the housing trust to take responsibility for this mans safety now as after a 3year battle for the right to sleep at night and privacy in my own property,I was also promised mediation to try and find a solution to his problems and after waiting patiently for 18months the housing trust wrote to me saying he now didn't feel the need.
lindylou - 20-Jun-15 @ 9:32 AM
Thanks, we already have more interested whether there would be any signs etc. And how they would do this. SSE are looking intp what pur bills should be.
Brocka - 6-Mar-15 @ 9:25 PM
@Brocka. question this with your energy supplier. Make a note of the times/appliance etc that you are using and ask them to verify that this is correct. They may also check out the pipe work/supply to your property if you ask them.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Mar-15 @ 2:22 PM
We have had a massively high gas bill, despite having limited gas appliances. Just heating and hot water. Problem is we dont get on with neighbour, we had a row some time ago over us cutting our hedge down. But they were on about getting gas in. We have seen a lot of stuff such as pipes and a gas fire etc go in. But from experience we know they dont seem to hire official contractors for any work. Thwy had teenage lads fix their unsafe chimney withouy any scaffolding who used a ladder to get up n climbed along the roof. Is it possible our neighbours are stealing out gas and how would we know. Our monthly bill has suddenly rose to the level we woukd nornally pay in a year so it definately not right.
Brocka - 4-Mar-15 @ 12:13 PM
Sadly, I am sandwiched between two rogue hacker neighbours in a row house/unit, who cannot get a life. I wonder why they cannot simply mind their own business. They tampered with my D-Link Wifi and computer connection. Now I am thinking about getting someone to get hold of their illicit activities before I can contact the police. Who does that more than a bunch of loser who need to get busy with the life they don't have than of someone else.
John Lott - 18-Jun-14 @ 6:11 PM
Also: * WEP is insufficient and outdated.Only WPA 2 or better security should be used these days. * The FIRST thing to do if you suspect a wifi thief is to TURN OFF the wifi. * The Communications Act is less relevant here.There are anti-hacking laws which apply more directly and cover more of the issue: it doesn't need to involve payment; it's simply illegal to gain illicit access to a computer network.
Guest - 4-Aug-12 @ 1:00 PM
Wifi slowness/viruses are NOT the biggest concern with people using your wifi.The biggest concern is that someone will deliberately use YOUR wifi to disguise THEIR identity, thereby becoming able to commit online crimes in your name.
Guest - 4-Aug-12 @ 12:55 PM
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