August 11, 2020
We all either know someone or have experienced a persistent door knocker. It’s been a viable sales method for hundreds of years, and most door-to-door salesmen are legitimate. In fact, I’m sure we can all think back to a time where we have been swayed to make a purchase or donate to a cause based on seeing a demonstration or listening to an interesting pitch at the door. However, sometimes it can be hard to tell if the door knocker on your porch has legitimate reasons for being there, or is trying to pull off a scam.
To keep yourself and your home safe, here’s what we suggest:
• Perform a lock check to ensure that your doors are secure.
• See who it is (through peephole or a doorbell camera).
• Decide whether you want to speak with the person.
• If you do decide to engage in a conversation, be sure to speak with the person through the closed door or speaker on your doorbell camera.
• Never sign paperwork or give up your personal information if you are unsure of the authenticity of the representative you’re speaking to or are not interested in the product they are pitching.
• Be confident when you tell them you are not interested/do not want them on your property.
If you hear someone at your front door, the first thing you should do is ensure all your doors are locked. Once you’ve confirmed that, take a look at who’s at your front door by looking through a peephole, a window, or your doorbell or front door security cameras. Using your doorbell camera (or a security camera pointed at your front door) is probably the safest way to check who’s outside your house if you have one. If you decide to speak with them, consider talking through the doorbell camera or closed door. You’re not obligated to open your door. Regardless of the story, it’s always safe to stay behind your closed door. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What if you’re not home and you receive an alert from your security app that a stranger is knocking at your door? What happens if it’s just your child at home alone? A great solution is a smart lock. This kind of system allows you to lock your door via your smartphone, so regardless of whether you’re at home or away, you don’t have to physically approach the door to lock it.
At Brinks Home™, we believe that scammers and fraudulent door knockers can pose a serious threat to home security. Our own field sales representatives and our authorized dealers will always clearly identify themselves, and once you’re a customer – we will never show up without notifying you in advance. Below are some tips on how to handle unwanted solicitation knocks.
The best deterrent is a NO SOLICITING or NO TRESPASSING sign. This should encourage both scam artists and above-board door knockers to steer clear of your home. These privately posted signs are actually a legitimate, legal way to prevent salespeople from approaching your property.
Check your local city’s ordinances so that you are informed and know your rights as a homeowner (or renter).
1. If you are interested in what this solicitor has to say, you should still be proactive and protect yourself from scam artists. Never complete a sale or provide personal information without being sure of who you are speaking with. Call the company. Ask the representative what company they work for and find the company’s direct contact information on your own. Verify the identity of the representative by asking for an ID. In many cities, solicitors are required to carry identification or a permit. Brinks Home and its authorized dealers provide representatives with branded identification. If a rep at your door cannot provide this, do not answer their questions. If a Brinks Home-branded representative approaches you, ask which dealership they work for, and use that company to verify. Take the information they offer you. Write down any claims they make, information they offer, and any literature or flyers they show you. Do not give information back to them. If they request to send the information via email, use a throwaway email account, not your main account. Tell them you need to think it over before proceeding with a decision.
2. Do your own research. Then, when you’re ready, you can move forward with that deal.
3. Use your “Cooling Off Period.” The Federal Trade Commission established a “cooling-off” rule to protect customers from high-pressure sales tactics. The rule is that if you buy a product that costs $25 or more, you can cancel your purchase without reason or explanation within 3 days. If you feel like you were unfairly approached and pressured, use this rule to your benefit.
Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection.
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