Scammer? or Not?

Yesterday when I got home from work Charlie told me about an attractive young lady who was walking around our neighborhood soliciting business for a pest control company.

Looking up our street you can only see our house.
Looking up our street you can only see our house.

This immediately sounded suspicious to me for a number of reasons:

  • the houses are far apart in our neighborhood,
  • the properties are surrounded by woods,
  • I had never heard of pest control companies soliciting by door-to-door sales,
  • she didn’t have a business card.
  • she said worked for a local company but gave a Utah phone number.

I emailed these details to others in our neighborhood association and found that the girl (yes, I know her name) had stopped at other houses and was chatty even after being told her services were not necessary.

The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.
The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.

Our house is set up such that the entire first floor is visible from everywhere else in the house. So the notion of letting someone in the front door then going into the kitchen and another person letting himself in unseen is not possible.

Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal "scheme" is named for him.
Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal “scheme” is named for him.

Not all scammers are rough looking, dirty, missing teeth, speak poor English — the ones that hit the big time are often just the opposite.

While we do have an ant problem we'll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.
While we do have an ant problem we’ll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.

Since I have no intention of using a cold solicitation for any service in or around my home I did no more research.  A neighbor, however, did his own research and made some phone calls which led him to believe this was a legitimate encounter. This time.

Are you cautious?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

11 thoughts on “Scammer? or Not?”

  1. I would still be wary about this person. No business card? Don’t think so. Did you know that Publishers Clearing House called me and I won several million dollars? NOT. PCH never makes calls. Oh yes, the IRS is after me, too, according to a phone call. So annoying and such a crime when folks fall for it. I always check those things out on snopes.com or do an internet search. When someone comes to your home, it’s harder to decipher sometimes.

    1. I’m very cautious. If you’re working hard to do something to benefit me, like calling everyday to get me to sign up for something, my guess is it really benefits you. Jo

  2. One can’t be too cautious today. Living where you do, with wooded areas between homes that creates seclusion, would make me more suspicious. If she is legit, someone should advise her employer of better ways to do her presentations. Even so, it is easy for anyone to print up business cards. It seems a shame it has come to these kinds of concerns, but better safe than sorry!

  3. I feel like I’m overly cautious, unfortunately, because as a woman and mother of a small child I perceive everything as a potential threat. I also like to believe the best in people, so I’m not afraid of everything, but yes, in that situation I definitely would have said “Thanks but no thanks.” My husband, on the other hand, would have asked to see her solicitation permit and until she could provide one he would make sure she was quick to get off the property.

  4. When it comes to cold-callers, I tend to receive them with disarming charm so I can figure out what their angle is. Usually, the person before me is some poor sole making minimum wage the hard way. But, before they leave, I know the process that would follow, if I submit, as well as, the cold caller’s experience with the company, whether or not they’re in college, recently laid-off, etc. Often they are candid and appreciate my empathy, from experience, with doing what they’re doing. We chat too long, get off the subject too far; I make them laugh, and they usually leave in a better mood than they arrived despite being unsuccessful. And I end up knowing who they are, what their employer is up to, and whether or not I should warn the “locals”. I think I have too much time on my hands.

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