With summer just around the corner, police are warning residents about so-called "transient offenders" -- criminals who take advantage of an open door, window or garage and help themselves to your stuff.

The modus operandi of these criminals, Nassau County police said in an advisory issued Monday, is "to portray a utility employee, surveyor or a contractor, approach the homeowners at their residences and engage them in distracting conversation."

The suspect then diverts the homeowners into an area of their home or yard, providing what police called "a means for an accomplice(s) to surreptitiously enter the home and commit a burglary."

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Police said residents can protect themselves by keeping windows and doors locked -- even when they're home. They can also keep burglar alarms set, even when leaving the house to run an errand, and by keeping valuables locked in a safe -- and not leaving them out in "a conspicuous space," like bedrooms, the kitchen or on a counter.

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Police said residents should ask for proper identification from anyone asking to come onto their properties.

And, police said that if you are uncertain of someone's credentials, you should contact the agency they claimed to be affiliated with.