Now that it’s officially Spring, although you wouldn’t know it judging by the temperatures, it’ll soon be time for all the door-to-door salesmen to make their appearances in your neighborhood. Not all door-to-door salespeople are scammers, but many unfortunately are. If your elderly parent or loved one lives alone there are some alarming statistics you need to be aware of. According to the Federal Trade Commission, over 25 million Americans are victims of fraud every year. Over thirty percent of them are seniors despite the fact that they make up only eleven percent of the population. According to AARP seniors make especially good targets for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they’re easier to get to since more of them are at home at any one time than other age groups that aren’t retired. Statistically, they’re widows or widowers who may be lonely and more receptive to someone striking up a friendly conversation. Most importantly, older people own more than half of the assets, such as homes and savings accounts, in the United States. This all makes them the perfect target of scammers.
There are some warning flags to look for when that smiling face tries to sell you a magazine subscription or warns you that there are some exterior repairs your home needs that you didn’t know about. And don’t forget the uniformed “utility workers” offering the free energy audit. Be cautious about what personal or financial information is revealed if you hear any lines similar to these:
*This is a limited time offer and you need to act fast.
*You need to pay up front.
*We’re working in the neighborhood and noticed you have a problem.
*The price is discounted because we had leftover materials from a job down the street.
*We can take care of the paperwork when the job is done.
*If I sell the most, I’ll win a prize.
No matter what, don’t let a stranger into your home and be aware that all legitimate sales offers include documentation. This includes identification for both the sales person and the “company” they represent and a permit if required by the city you live in. Be sure there is a written contract and all the terms are spelled out clearly, including price and warranties. If you are inclined to being a soft touch, just don’t answer the door to strangers. No one’s life has ever been negatively impacted by not responding to a door-to-door salesperson. Be safe. Share any tips you may have and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com