It happens every single year: Clever thieves attempt to gain entry into their victims’ homes by disguising themselves as door-to-door salespeople. It’s a scam as old as time — or since the invention of door-to-door salespeople — and, surprise, surprise, it’s back for another round.
Last month the scam surfaced in the St. Louis area, where a possible burglar pretending to be an agent for the Vivint alarm security company asked a homeowner identified only as “Sara” for entry into her home so he could inspect her current system, according to local station KSDK.
“Of course, he’s got to check all the doors, all the locks, all the systems, and then see everything you have in your house and how it’s stored,” she said. “It seems too opportunistic.”
Plus, he seemed awfully unprofessional.
“He said, ‘No, I don’t have a card,’” Sara recalled. “I said, ‘Well do you have a badge?’ He said, ‘Well no no I don’t have that either. But I do have this iPad.’ He got really nervous and he was like ‘Well, OK. But it is legit.’ And I said, ‘OK, why don’ t you just go ahead and leave.”
Wise decision. He was probably a burglar. And according to Vivint, he definitely wasn’t one of the company’s representatives.
The key thing to understand, though, is that this scam manifests in many forms. Three years ago in Washington, for instance, a group of thieves posed as vacuum salespeople to gain access to homes so they could case the interiors, according to a KCPQ report. They later returned to burglarize the homes.
And get this — earlier this year, burglars in Salt Lake Valley, Utah, went door to door pretending to sell solar panel systems, but not to trick homeowners into letting them inside. Instead, they knocked until they found homes where no one answered the door. Then they broke in, looking for jewelry and money.
The point here is to be alert. If a door-to-door salesperson shows up on your door and acts funny, lacks proper identification or just seems suspicious, call the authorities ASAP. The same applies if you see a salesperson or two or three inspecting neighborhood homes from the outside while your neighbors are away.
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