Beware of door-to-door solicitors

April 9, 2014

Scammers may be showing up at your front door. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has seen a dramatic increase in reports from residents concerned about persons soliciting door-to-door in their neighborhood.

Calls have ranged from a suspicious person posing as a security system repairman to persons selling magazines without credible identification. Door-to-door fundraising and solicitation is expected to continue increasing during the coming summer months. While many of these solicitations are legitimate, others may be illegal solicitors who are perpetuating scams or scouting potential homes for future burglaries.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating reports received from Washoe County residents and would like to remind all area homeowners to consider their safety before opening their doors. Here are some guidelines on how to help protect you and your family from illegal solicitors…

  • If you don’t know the person, don’t open the door. Never feel obligated to greet an unfamiliar person knocking at your door.
  • Always keep doors and windows locked. Storm doors or security doors are helpful when dealing with solicitors, because you can see and speak safely through the door. Use extreme caution before allowing an unfamiliar person into your home.
  • Solicitors must have a business license and permit. Call your local law enforcement agency if a solicitor is aggressively attempting to get into your home or refusing to show their license/permit.
  • If you are not interested, simply close the door and lock it. You don’t owe the person an explanation.
  • Don’t expect all perpetrators of door-to-door sales scams to look the part. Some are clean and well-dressed and use special psychological techniques to try to get into your home or get your money.
  • Always use extreme caution before providing any personal or financial information.
  • Take a look around the front of your home to see what is visible from the street. If you can see your valuable items through the front windows, so can potential burglars.
  • Residents can put a “no solicitors” sign on their door to help keep solicitors away.
  • If you observe suspicious activity, notify your local law enforcement immediately.

Washoe County residents may also receive information about keeping their families and neighborhoods safer by following the Sheriff’s Office on Twitter at @washoesheriff, or visiting the “Staying Safe” page on the Sheriff’s Office website. Another important tool for increasing personal and neighborhood security is the free online neighborhood safety service, AlertID.

Source: Washoe County Sheriff’s Office press release.

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