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High number of calls to police about door-to-door solicitors

Door to door salesmen used to be a valid job. Now, it's anybody's guess as to it being a scam or a way to scope out your home for criminals.
Door to door salesmen used to be a valid job. Now, it's anybody's guess as to it being a scam or a way to scope out your home for criminals.

Eugene police are receiving numerous reports of suspicious looking door-to-door solicitors in the area. Police are concerned that the solicitation is a scam of sorts or that the solicitors may be collecting for a cause that may not exist. The door-to-door sales ploy has also been used to test the waters for later robberies. If this is the case, it is normally difficult to know for certain until it is too late.

Often, products sold through door-to-door solicitors are of bad quality or the organizations are not valid companies. Solicitors have been caught selling services as well, such as the offer to pave a driveway.

The solicitation method is also used to scope out homes for robberies. If the home owner or renter happens to answer the door, they can often see some valuables inside the home. If the door isn’t opened, they often believe nobody is home and they may attempt to break in. Robberies often happen during the daylight hours, when many have left for work.

As the resident of your home, it is okay not to open the door to anyone you do not feel comfortable with. If there is any crime committed or there is a threat to commit a crime, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Suspicious solicitors should be reported to the local police immediately. Non-emergency police numbers can be used for such reports.

Post signs on the outside of your home or fence line that specifically state you want “No solicitors” or that there is “No Trespassing” allowed. Refuse to open the door to any strangers that may be outside. Never open the door with a chain latch. These can be broken quickly and the criminal gains entry.

Install peepholes in your front and back doors to ensure you have a safer method of viewing your porch. Make sure the porch light works to light up the area and make visibility optimal.

Talk to strangers through the peephole and do not open your door. Make it clear that you do not do business with door-to-door solicitors. Phone your neighbors to warn them of strangers heading toward their homes as well.

According to Traveling Sales Crews, at least 400 high-profile felony cases and 89 deaths have been accounted for by their organization, in the state of Wisconsin.

The National Consumer League has ranked the job of traveling door-to-door sales as one of the top five most dangerous types of employment a teenager or a young adult can be hired for.

The state of Wisconsin has also implemented protection laws for anyone involved in door-to-door sales. By law, those who choose magazine sales as a job are now required to be employees of a company and not merely independent contractors. All salesman employees must have a complete background check and the company must post a $10,000 cash or secured bond before they sell an item. This law was created as an answer to the 11 deaths, murder, and a rape that have occurred in Wisconsin by criminals posing as door-to-door salesmen.

According to the website, the Memorial Parents Group has documented a host of the most heinous rapes and murders by household cleaning sales people or magazine sales representatives.

In Eugene, it is uncommon to see a number of these reports coming in at once. While the solicitors may be legitimate, it is difficult to tell until it is too late.

Oregon requires the door-to-door sales people to have a valid employment certificate issued the state if they are under 18 years of age. They must carry an I.D. card that will display the commercial solicitor’s name, address, phone number and a photograph of the sales person. The company name, address and phone number of the company they work for must also be shown at the request of the home owner.

A written service or goods contract will be written out and one copy of each order given to the purchaser. Each order should also state the solicitor’s name, address and phone number, along with information about the company they work for, if any. The amount of money paid in advance should also be listed.

By request of the purchaser, a receipt for payment of good and services must be supplied. The receipt should state the amount paid, the goods or services purchased and the solicitor’s name, address and information about the company.

Eugene is a city that has not seen wide sweeps of crime, especially of this type. However, crime is growing rapidly, due to economical and drug related issues. Crimes of a violent type seem to be surfacing more and more each year. Protect yourself and your family. Do not open your door to strangers and phone police if something does not feel or look legitimate. It is better to call and be wrong than to open your door and be right.

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