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Door-to-door sales scam confirmed in Dunlap reminds us to beware any season of scams

DUNLAP, Tenn. — The Dunlap Police Department received reports on Tuesday that a male subject was going door to door in the Valley View Subdivision area in Dunlap attempting to sell television service.

This subject stated he was with the Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative’s (BTC) Dunlap office, however residents noted he was not in uniform and had no BTC credentials to show.

Officials with BTC later confirmed with authorities that they did not have salespeople going door to door.

BTC officials further stated that in the event they did have employees visiting residents, they would be in uniform and have credentials.

Dunlap Police ask that if anyone in the community is approached by an unexpected door to door salesman, it is recommended that you do not allow them into your home and call 911 to have law enforcement officers verify the individual.

And while this has only been reported in the Dunlap area, for now, other local authorities continue to stress that these door-to-door sales scams do frequently happen and aren’t limited just to the holiday season, but can happen any time of the year. The scams aren’t just limited to the chance of putting yourself in physical danger, but much more.

In a door-to-door scam, the fraudster knocks on your door and typically offers a product or service, but their primary goal is to steal from you. They will typically do this by convincing you to pay cash up-front for a service that is never rendered, or distracting you while an accomplice ransacks your home. In other cases (especially at the holidays) they’re scoping out your home and others in your neighborhood to see if the opportunity to come back at a later time and break-in is possible — when you or your neighbors aren’t home. “Sizing-up” the bounty of wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree is sadly also common this time of year.

Sadly, people who run these scams often target seniors because Baby Boomers were raised to be courteous and trusting—the perfect characteristics for con artists to exploit. Rather than refusing to answer the door for a stranger or just saying no to a product or service, many elders allow scammers to get their foot in the door (figuratively and sometimes literally) with sales pitches and emotional manipulation because they do not want to be perceived as rude.

Some examples or scenarios of these scams include free home security inspections, tree trimming (when no truck is visibly present), impersonation of utility companies (electric, water, cable tv/phone), home repairs and, of course, product sales.

Officials say the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from these scams is to never respond from unsolicited offers of service. If you need services or repairs to your home — make a point of scheduling these appointments to avoid uncertainty over who is or isn’t a legitimate provider. Also, always ask for identification. If they cannot provide credentials of some sort (including an ID badge or wearing of uniform), it’s likely they are not with the company they claim to be working for. If you have any doubts, they say to ask the person to leave information or a business card and return next week which gives you time to verify their validity.

Other notes of importance… If you live alone, you should never share that information with an unsolicited visitor. Never give cash or other payment information to anyone offering a service or product and demanding a payment being especially cautious of anyone demanding immediate and up-front payment.

In many local cities (including South Pittsburg, among others) door-to-door salespersons are required to obtain a permit from the city hall. If they cannot show a valid peddler’s or vendor permit or business license, you should also beware. If you experience anything suspicious it’s also best to contact your local law enforcement agency to let them know. Also share the information with your nearby neighbors as this could help them avoid becoming victims. And always keep your doors locked, even while you’re at home.

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Permanent link to this article: https://marioncountymessenger.com/2017/12/door-to-door-sales-scam-confirmed-in-dunlap-reminds-us-to-beware-any-season-of-scams/