Beware of door to door scams as they are increasing


Be careful of people selling stuff door-to-door, as a number of door-to-door scams are being reported. Photo Credit: Aimee Castenell/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Always be wary of people selling stuff door to door, as a number are rip off artists. Aside from Girl Scouts trying to get people hooked on diabolically addicting cookies, there are a number of door-to-door scams out there.

Fraud artists running door-to-door scams on the rise

According to NBC News, there is an increase being reported nationwide in the number of door-to-door scams, some of which are scamming people out of hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, leaving them at risk of needing to get payday loans to survive.

Law enforcement officials and the Better Business Bureau are reporting increased activity nationwide in the number of complaints about people who sell things door-to-door and never deliver the promised goods, among other things. Intimidating sales tactics are employed by some of the perpetrators to get people to shell out for whatever good or service they’re selling.

There are a good number of perfectly honest operations doing sales door-to-door, or “home sales” or “direct sales” as they are called in the marketing industry, but one has to keep their eyes peeled.

Magazine scams common

One of the most common door-to-door scams is magazine scams, according to NBC News. The BBB has received more than 1,000 complaints so far this year about magazine subscriptions, compared to 1,300 for all of 2011.

Usually, the con is that the door-to-door salesman will show up and sell a person one or several magazine subscriptions, only for the magazines to never arrive. It’s also common for the magazine “sales” to be connected to some sort of fundraiser, often for a high school or some sort of educational trip.

Warnings have been issued in numerous areas recently; local authorities over bogus magazine subscriptions in the past few months include Lamar County, Colo., according to CBS Denver, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Spokane, Wash., according to KHQ, a Spokane ABC affiliate. These are just a few examples, as the scam is common.

Other scams to watch for

Other common door-to-door scams, according to NBC News, include home repair scams and “security system” scams. The latter could be either a “test” of a security system or door-to-door burglar alarm sales, which just like the magazine scams will result in a system that never arrives or one that is poorly installed and woefully inadequate.

Often times, according to Consumer Reports, alarm scams and magazine scams are part of what’s called “summer slamming,” where companies get a bunch of high school and college students to schlep their wares door-to-door. Some are legitimate, but some aren’t, so be careful of the next fresh-faced youngster that shows up at one’s doorstep.

Also beware of Girl Scouts selling cookies. Those things are addicting.


NBC News

Consumer Reports


CBS Denver:

Star Telegram:

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