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Watch out for sneaky solicitor scams

Watch out for sneaky solicitor scams

According to the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station, the scam works like this: a fake “contractor” knocks on the door of a house. He offers a free estimate for low-cost home repairs and asks the resident to do a walk-around of the home’s exterior and backyard so the resident can point out areas that need repair.

While the homeowner is away from the front door and distracted, the solicitor’s unseen partners quickly walk into the open front door. They are experts at stealing valuable items in just one minute.

After the walk-around the solicitor gives the homeowner a fake business card and leaves, promising to follow up with an estimate. By the time the homeowner figures out he or she’s been burglarized, the thieves have driven away.

Tips to prevent this kind of scam:

• The safest course of action is to not answer your door for solicitors…or tell the solicitor to leave your property. If they do not listen, call the Lakewood Sheriff Station at 562-623-3500.
• If you choose to speak with a solicitor, never step outside your home to do so.
• Never allow solicitors into your home.
• If you are in the market for home improvement projects, thoroughly vet contractors before you allow them into your home. Ask for references from friends and neighbors so you know you are working with a legitimate business.
• If you experience a solicitor offering free estimates or free services, report them to the Lakewood Sheriff Station. Deputy Sheriffs will appreciate your help in trying to apprehend the recent burglars.