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When a Stranger Comes Knocking



If you’re not expecting anyone and don’t know who is knocking on your front door, what should you do? There is a chance that it is legitimate and a chance that someone may be trying to scam you. So always remember: not opening the door to someone you don’t know is not rude, it is safe.

TIPS:

  • When at home, use your deadbolts. They are not just for protecting your home while you are away. Deadbolts also protect you while you are at home.
  • You are not obligated to open the door to anyone. Identification should always be verified before opening the door. A wide angle door viewer is needed if there is no way to see the person without opening the door. All home service representatives should have appointments and not just "show up" at your door.
  • Do not open the door, but acknowledge you are home and talk through the door without opening it. If you don't answer, and it happens to be a criminal, they may attempt to break into your home if they think the home is not occupied.
  • Ask what they need (speaking through the closed door). If it is a car problem, offer to make a call for them. If it is an injury collision, call 9-1-1 for them. Ask them to stand by while you place the call.
  • If the person leaves quickly, it should be considered suspicious and calling the police immediately is recommended. You can report it at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a cell phone in the Edmonton area.
  • Suggestion: remember to take a good look at their face, clothing, any distinguishing features, direction of travel, vehicle description, etc. This may be useful if you need to assist the police and your community.

Door-to-door scams

The Edmonton Police Service would like to remind citizens to be on the look out for door-to-door fraud scams and consider the following crime prevention tips:

  1. The Golden Rule: When an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  2. Keep personal information private. Never give your bank account, social security, or credit card numbers to anyone you don’t know and trust. 
  3. If a salesperson approaches you, insist they:
    • Explain up front the purpose of the visit and produce identification;
    • Provide their contact details in the agreement; and
    • Leave the premises if you ask them to do so.

  4. Avoid high pressure sales. Say “no” to any offer or deal that is only available right now.
  5. If you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer.
    • Legitimate door-to-door vendors, including those collecting for charities, will usually leave materials behind for your review. With a phone call or internet search, you will be able to judge whether the offer is legitimate.
  6. Search the business on the web. Research to see if there are other consumers who have commented on the quality of their work – many scams can be identified this way.
  7. You are never obligated to allow a salesperson into your home. Typically, a salesperson from a reputable franchise you do business with or want to do business with will call ahead to arrange a meeting. If not, do not let them in.
  8. Never pay for a prize. If you are offered a prize but are asked to pay a “processing fee” or “taxes in advance” it is likely a scam. You should not have to pay anything to win a free prize.
  9. If you think you’ve spotted a scam, report it to police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.