By: Andrew Limberg

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Local police and the Better Business Bureau are both warning people about the dangers of being robbed and scammed by people who are claiming to be door-to-door salespeople.

Northern Regional Police Det. Scott Rick and Caitlin Driscoll, of the Better Business Bureau, joined “The KDKA Morning News” with John Shumway to give information on how residents can avoid becoming the next victim.

Det. Rick says that these robbers are mainly targeting the elderly population. This is the case, according to Rick, because of their “caring ways” among other things.

The perpetrators dress up as utility workers and tell the residents they need to see the rear of the property. While the phony utility worker and resident go into the back, a second person will go inside and grab “cash and jewelry,” according to Det. Rick.

Police in Butler County are currently investigating a series of these types of crimes.

How should you react if you suspect someone to be a phony worker?

Det. Rick says if you are alone and are suspicious, you don’t have to open the door.

“Just stay inside and wait for them to leave,” says Det. Rick.

He also said if you make contact with them and are not comfortable with the type of questions they are asking, tell them to leave.

“If they don’t leave, [the resident] needs to call the police department,” says Det. Rick.

Another thing that residents need to be aware of is door-to-door scammers.

Driscoll says that they get complains every summer from people who are trying to sell them, “everything from vacuum cleaners, magazine subscriptions, home improvement services are a big one, and even selling meat.”

Driscoll wants consumers to be aware that legitimate businesses still use door-to-door tactics to sell their products, but to avoid someone who is aggressive.

Be aware of someone who is trying to get you to make a commitment on the spot. If you want more time to check out a company, the salesperson should be willing to do that.

Driscoll says that if the person has identification and you feel comfortable making a transaction to, “always pay by credit card rather than cash, check, wire transfer, or even pre-paid debit card.”

She said using a credit card has the most consumer protection.

Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

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