There are stories in the news from time to time about scams involving people who knock on the door of a stranger’s home. Most of the people who go door to door are legitimate, but not all are. Knowing how to protect yourself from the scammers is important.
We had an experience of this nature. A man claiming to be a member of an international soccer team was “selling magazines.” There were many clues that he wasn’t who he claimed to be. Chief among them was a lack of anything to sell with. We found out later that he was a rapist looking for easy targets. Thankfully, we weren’t.
City Codes: Many cities have codes that deal with door to door sales. In our city, the person must carry…and preferably wear…a permit for doing this sort of work. They are tracked and monitored. If someone comes to your door offering to sell you something, ask for this permit. If one isn’t available, send them on their way. No, the guy I mentioned didn’t have a permit…another clue he wasn’t legit.
Utility Workers: It isn’t difficult to get uniforms that look like they are authentic. This is often a two person scam. One distracts the homeowner with questions about a utility and an inspection of some appliance or meter. The other slips in and robs the homeowner.
If you aren’t expecting a utility worker to knock on the door, ask them for I.D. If they don’t have it or you have a funny feeling about it, call the utility and ask if someone has been sent. Don’t open the door until you are convinced it’s for real.
Police: This is rarer but occasionally rears its ugly head. We’ve been taught to respect the uniform, but occasionally someone who hasn’t earned the right to wear that uniform dons it. It’s not hard to get an official looking badge to be flashed (but not inspected). If there is reason to suspect that the person knocking on your door isn’t a bona fide police officer, dial 911 immediately. The operator can tell you one way or another fairly quickly. If it’s a fake, the operator will send you the real deal on the double.
It’s hard to suspect others of dishonesty, particularly if they are wearing a uniform. However, it’s a lot better to be slightly suspicious than it is to be taken advantage of. If you doubt someone’s for real, find out before you let them inside.