The West St. Paul Police department would like to remind the residents of Sunfish Lake to be mindful when it comes to door to door solicitors. Although many solicitors have good intentions, some do not and it’s not always easy to spot the con artist. Here are some tips that will help keep you safe from the con artist or unwanted door to door solicitor.
If someone is soliciting door to door in your neighborhood, please remember that:
· If someone comes to your door with or without a permit, you are not obligated to engage in a conversation or open the door.
· A door to door solicitor must first obtain a license from City Council before beginning to solicit.
· A solicitor must show a photo identification card and their city-issued license number when asked by a resident, a police officer or a city employee.
· Call out or look through a peephole or window before opening your door to anyone.
· Take your time before buying something. Do some comparison shopping. A reputable salesperson will be willing to come back after you have done some comparison price shopping.
· Do not let anyone in your home that you do not know. It’s much more difficult to rid yourself of them once they are inside; it’s also potentially dangerous.
· Talk about these tips with your children and make sure they never open a door to an unknown guest.
A person may be a fraudulent solicitor if he/she:
· Is out of compliance with the municipal code (lacks a City-issued ID.)
· Acts aggressively, is threatening, or tries to make you feel guilty for not wanting to buy what he/she is selling.
· If they pressure you to make a decision on the spot or will only accept cash.
· Asks you for your bank account or social security numbers.
· Watch out for identity theft. Providing a check or credit card information to the solicitor can expose you to identity theft. If you choose to purchase something either purchase it at a store front, the product’s website or if it isn’t too costly, provide cash.
Watch Out for Door- to Door Scams:
· Home Security Rip Offs: A scam often starts with a door-to-door sales pitch for a home security system by an unlicensed operator. Watch out for these scams, you might get a little protection or no protection at all; or worse the operator may come back and break into your home while you’re away. Always research the product before you buy!
· Contractor Capers: You will be told that your roof needs to be fixed and it will cost you thousands of dollars. Or a solicitor just happened to be in the area and has some left over materials from a job he just did at one of your neighbor’s house. They will ask for money up front and will tell you he or she will be returning to finish the project the next day. Most often they never come back.
· Pesky Pests: An unlicensed pest control operator will tell you that your house might be infested, because they are working on other houses in the area. Remember always work with a licensed pest control operator.
· Charitable Hucksters: Watch Out! These scammers will try and fool you with fraudulent charitable names. Do not be fooled by names that sound impressive or that closely resemble the name of familiar organizations. Remember legitimate organizations will not pressure you into giving money immediately. Ask the solicitor to leave the materials for you to review later.