From the Kenosha PD: Tips for avoiding door-to-door scams
A salesperson representing an alarm company comes to your door and asks if you have an alarm system for your home. How will you answer that question if you have no alarm? If you answer “No” you have just told a stranger your home may be vulnerable to burglary.
You may not realize the need to know how to identify a door-to-door scam until you understand how easy it can be to fall for one. Con artists use specially developed techniques and well-known psychological effects to get you to act a certain way. People are taken advantage of every day. Some merely lose the money, while others deal with much more serious consequences, such as stolen identities.
Even if you are convinced a door-to-door sales scam could never happen to you, it may be beneficial to know what to look for. A con artist may:
- Be of any age or gender.
- Try to distract you with talk of a competition or contest before mentioning anything about the cost of the product.
- Appeal to your charitable nature. Be wary if a person at your door mentions they are working for a “good cause,” especially if it is one you have not heard before.
- Attempt to gain entry to your home. Train yourself not to let strangers inside.
- Attempt to befriend you. Expect conversation about your likes, interests, and hobbies.
- Not wait around for you to say “yes.” Instead, the paperwork will be completed long before you have even made up your mind.
- Attempt to get you involved in the scam. In this way, you are less likely to report it when you do eventually get taken advantage of.
Some door-to-door salespeople are selling legitimate products and services; however, many are attempting to deceive. An important concept to remember is the salesperson is a stranger. In the event the deal takes a wrong turn, will you be able to locate the person?
If you are considering making a purchase from a salesperson at your door, do not act in haste, request references and the company’s physical address for validation. Wisconsin law requires door-to-door salespeople to disclose their name, the organization they are representing, the products or services they are offering, and the purpose of their visit.
The City of Kenosha requires all door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler’s license. The license must be worn while the person is engaged in selling. Peddlers are also limited to the selling hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless a prearranged appointment has been set up.
Wisconsin law gives consumers three days to cancel a door-to-door sales transaction of $25 or more. A salesperson must tell you about your cancellation rights at the time of the sale and provide you with two copies of a cancellation form. One copy is for your records, the other is to send to the seller should you choose to cancel the purchase.
“The three day right to cancel law gives consumers time to reconsider their actions, but refusing to deal with salespeople who are not following the law is still the best way to avoid becoming a victim,” said Janet Jenkins, Administrator of DATCP’s Division of Trade and Consumer Protection.
A door-to-door sales person who does not have a license or does not follow the law is suspicious and should be reported to the police. Making this report, including suspect and vehicle descriptions, may greatly reduce the likelihood of future victims.
To file a consumer complaint regarding questionable door-to-door sales, contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection on the web at www.datcp.state.wi.us; via e-mail at [email protected]; or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-422-7128.