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Door-to-door solicitors in Valley Center neighborhoods



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Solicitors are required to have a license issued by the sheriff's licensing division in order to sell door-to-door in Valley Center. Courtesy photo
November 21, 2013
The Valley Center Sheriff's Substation has been made aware of two occasions of solicitors going door-to-door in Valley Center neighborhoods over the past month.

The solicitors stated they were from out of state, one was attempting to sell magazine subscriptions and the other represented a solar company. While it has not been determined that either of these solicitors were attempting to scam people, the following information is provided in order to better inform the Valley Center community and offer tools when someone knocks on your door.

It is legal to go door-to-door soliciting a product or service, however, a permit issued by the Sheriff's Department is required to do so in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Each solicitor should have a Solicitor's License, which is issued by the Licensing Division of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. If a solicitor comes to your door you should first verify they are a legitimate solicitor by asking to see their license, this will help you to avoid a scam.

Signs of a Scammer:

A door-to-door scammer is someone who sells you a product or service and then either does not follow through or misrepresents their product or service.

•Does the solicitor allow you ample time to make an informed decision? If they are offering a deal or special price that is only available right now and you must decide immediately, this is a red flag.

•Do they have proof? Every person who comes to your door trying to sell you something should have a Solicitor's License. Additionally, you could request to see company-issued identification.

•Examine the uniform, or lack thereof. Is it appropriate for what they are soliciting?

•Ask for a business card. It should have their name on it and a phone number you can call to verify they are who they are representing to you.

•Can you do an independent verification of their business? Is there information on the internet either verifying or contradicting their pitch?

•A typical practice for scammers is to use identification from another state or claim to represent a business from another state. Even if they have a license issued elsewhere, a license from the San Diego Sheriff's Department is still required.

What to do if a scammer comes to your door:

State that you are not interested in their product or service and ask them to leave the property. Many door-to-door solicitors will try hard to make a sale. If there is something suspicious about your interaction with the solicitor, call the non-emergency line at 858-565-5200. When calling, it is helpful to have a description of the solicitor, information about the vehicle used and communicate what was suspicious about your interaction. If, at any time, some tries to force themselves into your home, call 911 immediately.

Purchasing from a door-to-door solicitor:

•Do so with caution. Be sure to verify they are a legitimate solicitor.

•Pay in cash to avoid giving your personal information such as credit card numbers.

•Never allow them in your home.

•If you need to get cash, ask them to wait outside, close and lock the door. Only bring the necessary cash with you when you return to the door.

•Require a receipt, check their identification. Write down their name and driver's license number.

For more crime-prevention information contact Ashley Jenkins, crime prevention specialist at the Valley Center Sheriff's Substation, at 760-751-4408 or via email at ashley.jenkins@sdsheriff.org.

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Michael Robledo