Door-to-Door Scammers Increasingly Target Older Adults and Other Honest Residents

Door-to-Door Scammers Increasingly Target Older Adults and Other Honest Residents

By Yehudit Garmaise

Residents must remain careful never to open their doors to just anyone who knocks.

Some legitimate businesses rely on door-to-door sales, however, an uptick in scammers who appear as unexpected visitors is anticipated this summer by New York’s Division of Consumer Protection.

While door-to-door scammers tend to target older adults, thieves have been showing up at all kinds of honest residents’ doorsteps.

“To help you better understand how you can protect yourself, our Division of Consumer Protection has provided practical tips to help you identify potential door-to-door scammers and avoid being cheated out of your hard-earned money,” says NY Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez as reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 

The NY Department of State urges residents to remain vigilant in not responding in any way to the following scammers who have been knocking on New Yorkers’ doors:

1. Fake solar energy providers: are imposters who try to steal residents’ personal information or perpetrate other fraudulent activity by persuading residents who might be interested in sustainable power to sign fake “enrollment forms” and “applications.” 

2. Fake utility representatives: pose as utility workers who falsely claim that they must come in to inspect a “utility emergency.” Real utility companies that need access to residents’ homes, however, generally send letters in advance to give warning of their arrivals.

Residents also should remain aware that burglars and other street criminals often work in pairs. While one scammer gains your attention, the other will sneak into your home or other belongings, such as a purse, to steal.

3. Home improvement scammers: knock on your door and offer repairs and home improvements at “bargain prices.” Such thieves may ask for payment upfront to do work with extra supplies leftover from another project in your neighborhood.

Such scammers will be quick to disappear once they have received payment without having done any work. Residents should remember that most good contractors are too busy to drum up business by going door-to-door.

4. Asphalt paving scammers: often claim that they have leftover asphalt from another job in your area. Reputable asphalt contractors, however, determine with great accuracy how much material they will need to finish a job, and they don’t usually have much left over.

Fraudulent pavers also might offer a price for their services that seems too good to be true, and then once the usually shoddy work is finished, quote a much higher price than was originally offered. 

Asphalt scammers also may begin to tear up your driveway without first asking your permission, and then demand a high payment to re-pave it, in which case residents should call the police immediately.

5. Fake home security system representatives: knock on your door and offer to provide free “security inspections,” to gain entry to steal from you. Such scammers may use scare tactics, such as claiming that several robberies have recently taken place in your neighborhood. Such scammers might claim to upgrade or replace your current security system, they might claim that your security company has “gone out of business.”

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