Scammers may disguise themselves as representing a city official or private company in order to gain information or access to your home. Some door-to-door scams include magazine subscription sales, fraudulent fundraisers, “free” home security inspections, unsolicited tree trimming services or home repair services, and “free” energy audits or utility services.
Warning signs include:
- High-pressure sales tactics, scare tactics, or limited-time offers.
- Demands for upfront payment or in cash only.
- Too-good-to-be-true deals.
- Solicitors without permits.
- Threats to disconnect or discontinue services unless immediate payment is rendered.
While some door-to-door solicitation could be legitimate businesses offering legitimate services, the FTC provides the following tips and information to help protect you and your family from falling victim to a scammer:
- Don’t let anyone come into your home unless you have a pre-scheduled appointment. You have the right to refuse to open your door.
- Don’t pay cash to anyone who comes to your door claiming to be with a utility company or other service provider.
- Confirm any special offers with your service provider using the number on your bill or their website.
Additional tips to keep you safe:
- Be cautious of who you let into your home.
- Ask for ID to verify legitimacy.
- Report any suspicious activity to police.
- Don’t sign contracts or make purchases on the spot without reading paperwork carefully - ask for contact information like a website to visit or a brochure to do research.
- Don’t share personal information or credit card/banking information to unsolicited visitors.
- Be wary of salespeople claiming to be from your utility provider or alarm service – call the number on your bill to verify the salesperson is indeed a representative from the company and the reason for the visit.
Remember: Unauthorized commercial solicitation within the City of West University Place is a violation of the City of West University Place Code of Ordinances. All solicitors must be registered and obtain a permit with the city. You can register your home for the no-knock list with the police department and while it won’t necessarily prevent solicitors from ever coming to your home, it will give the police department the tools needed to enforce your request to keep them off of your property. If you observe any suspicious activity or believe you have been scammed, report the information to the police.