As spring eases its way into the Treasure Valley the Better Business Bureau want to help you avoid the scams that may be coming your way with warmer weather. As the sun comes out and the temperature warm up scammers may be coming to you.
One spring scam that is already popping up on BBB Scam Tracker out of Meridian is official looking notices being left on trash cans notifying the home owner that their address will be painted on curbs the following day. It claims the painting can help emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance find your home. One report said after the woman opted in for this service, thinking she was helping the city, she was left with a handwritten invoice for $20, none of which was mentioned on the initial flyer.
While this can be a legitimate fundraiser BBB is most alarmed by the misleading nature of this notice. First, it was left on city garbage cans, so it appeared as if it was coming from the city and had police and emergency responders in bold font in its verbiage. There was also no mention of any fee until after the service was performed. Even more alarming is the invoice was handwritten, asking for payment in cash, check, or via venmo. There was no business name or logo.
While this scam may not come to your neighborhood, the spring and summer seasons tend to bring out more door to door sales people, which can be cause for concern. Here are some tips to help be on the lookout for problematic sales pitches and to have a plan in place when you hear that knock:
- Ask about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license. Ask if the salesperson has checked in with the city and gotten proper licensing. If you are not sure if your city requires a permit, call your city offices.
- Check identification. A reputable seller will give you all the information you ask for, including a photo ID and a business card.
- Verify the individual and the company. Tell the salesperson you want to call the company directly. A legitimate salesperson should not have a problem with this. Research the company and contact them to check if the salesperson is an employee. Read the company’s Business Profile and customer reviews at bbb.org.
- Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could be considered a contract.