THIS IS A WARNING REGARDING DOOR TO DOOR MAGAZINE SALES
On January 2nd, 2013, I was approached inside the Wal-Mart store in San Marcos, TX by a door to door magazine salesman trying to do his magazine sales scam. The company the receipt said he worked for is “Back A Winner” based out of Colorado. During my conversation with the “salesman” he disclosed that law enforcement in the New Braunfels area have already been called on the group. He claimed to a have a “permit” to solicit in San Marcos. He also told me that he and several others would be in the Comal County/Hays County/Travis County areas for at least the next five to six weeks. The “salesman” I encountered appeared to have been drinking. Wal-Mart staff was informed and he was “politely” asked to leave.
This being said, it is probably safe to say that these “salesmen and saleswomen” will be soliciting in our neighborhoods. Their angle is that they get points towards winning a trip or money. They encourage you if you are not interested in purchasing magazines to “make a donation that will go towards sending a care package to servicemen in Afghanistan or towards books for children in hospitals.”
I did a Google search for the company “Back A Winner,” and several complaints have been filed with the website www.scambook.com. The Better Business Bureau in the Denver, Colorado Region reports on their website at least 18 complaints – see http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/magazine-sales/back-a-winner-in-kittredge-co-90144540.
Some tips to avoid such door to door scams:
1. The best way to not get caught by this scam: don’t answer the door. If you aren’t expecting anyone, ask who it is through the closed door. If it’s a door to door sales person, tell them to leave.
2. Putting a “No Solicitors” or “No Trespassing” sign is one way to help in deterring them.
3. If you answer the door, don’t open it wide and don’t invite them in. Even if they say: “Can I use your phone to contact my sales manager?” “Can I get a glass of water?” “Can I use your bathroom?” – or – “It’s really hot out here can we go inside and talk where it’s cool?” Once inside, this stranger can steal from you, hurt you, or worse.
4. If you do open the door and they won’t leave or they try to stick their foot in the door, scream. Yell at them, yell “Fire!”, or anything that will get attention. Call law enforcement to file a report.
5. If you live in an apartment complex with a security door remember don’t buzz in someone you don’t know use the intercom find out who it is. Door to door sales people are known for buzzing everyone in the building to see if anyone will let them in without checking to see who it is. Report these incidents apartment management staff.
6. If you see a neighbor being harassed by a door to door sales person call the cops. If you feel comfortable enough walk up to your neighbor and ask what is going on.
7. If you happen to talk to a door to door sales person and don’t feel comfortable, call the cops. Also, notify your neighbors and don’t be afraid to watch where the door to door sales person goes. If you notice they are going to houses that don’t appear to have anyone home, call the cops – they could be trying to break in. In addition be more alert; it is common for a neighborhood to experience a rash of home burglaries, car break-ins, or garage break-ins days after a team of traveling sales people have visited the neighborhood, especially if they didn’t get the sales they were expecting.
8. Don’t buy anything! The whole point of door to door sales is to pressure someone into buying something without being able to make an informed decision. Even if the sales person tells you their deal is only good through them, don’t buy anything.
9. If you do call the police, try to give a good description like identifying marks, tattoos, scars, hair color, height, weight, type of clothes the door to door scammer was wearing, if they had an accent, if they were male or female, if there was more than one person.
We encourage you to be cautious when dealing with any door to door salesmen. If you do not feel comfortable or they refuse to leave after being asked to do so or after you have warned them they are trespassing and are not welcome, you are encouraged to contact law enforcement
Please be safe.
Jeffrey P. Jordan (SO2774)
Hays County Sheriff’s Office
Community Outreach Unit