Each year as temperatures start to rise so too do the number of reported scams in our area.
The Wake Forest Police Department is reminding everyone to be aware of door-to-door scams and suspicious persons in their neighborhoods that may be looking to take advantage of them or possibly looking for homes where the residents are not at home. Residents should be aware that town ordinance requires door-to-door solicitors to obtain a permit and produce the town-issued permit upon request while conducting door to door solicitations.
In addition, homeowners should be wary of doing business with a door-to-door salesperson unless they can verify there is a local office and contact number. If they are legitimate, they will provide this information willingly.
Lastly, keep in mind that some people who come to your door may not really be selling anything - they just want you to think they are. In some cases what they're really doing is casing your home - looking for computers or other valuables lying near quick escape routes, checking if you have barking dogs, or if there are signs of a security system. And if they ask to come in for a drink of water, don't let them in!
If you ever feel you are the target of a scam, here's what to do:
Ask the person to leave. If they don't, call the police department at 919-554-6150 and request that an officer come to your residence.
Keep all printed information the salesperson gives you. Business cards or other information may help identify the scammer.
Write down a description of the individual and their vehicle, their license plate number and direction of travel when they leave.
Finally, police officials say a new and dangerous trend that has been developing in cities and urban areas all over the country is especially serious - home invasion scams. Criminals are devising new and clever scams to gain entrance to people's homes.
In order for homeowners to protect themselves and their families, they must become aware of these scams and remain vigilant whenever anyone approaches their door, proposes an in-home visit or demonstrates suspicious behavior.
Do not respond to suspicious letters, emails or phone calls, especially any requesting personal or financial information. Many of these scams originate from foreign countries, and recovery of stolen funds is highly unlikely.
If you receive correspondence that you have won a prize from a contest that you did not enter or have never heard of, you should be very suspicious. Never send anyone any money to claim a larger prize.
Be suspicious of unknown persons posing as "Good Samaritans" who tell you your car or property needs repair work and offer to fix it. In these scams, the suspect will ask for cash to purchase parts and keep the money without making any repairs.
Never give your address to a caller who claims to work for a parcel delivery service and says you have a package. If you get such a call and the caller gives you a phone number don't call it. Instead, look up the phone number of the delivery service online or in the phone book and call that number to confirm that the service really has a package for you. Suspects in these cases often attempt to locate unoccupied homes or get address information for future burglaries
Be suspicious of vague phone calls that claim you owe an outstanding debt especially any requesting personal or financial information. Outstanding debt should be confirmed through the establishment to which the money is owed.
If you are selling items through the newspaper or an internet site, beware of buyers who offer to purchase items with checks or traveler's checks that can turn out to be bogus. Accept only cash and never meet a stranger alone.
Do not give money to persons who approach you and offer "lifetime" services, such as house cleaning, pressure washing, rubbish removal or driveway repairs and then ask for advance payment.
Be suspicious if you receive a phone call from someone posing as a relative who claims to be in some sort of legal trouble and asks for money for an attorney.
Be suspicious if you receive an email from someone posing as an acquaintance claiming to be stranded in a foreign country and asking to borrow money to get home.
Anyone who witnesses or experiences suspicious activity should contact the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150. You may remain anonymous.