Soliciting in the Bryan, College Station area can pose as a threat to community members. A small unsuspecting child could open the door, or an unaware homeowner could face pressure to let a stranger inside.
During the summer, there is an increase in solicitors around the city. The warmer weather is more welcoming for people walking door to door to make sales.
It is true that some people are out soliciting, working hard to earn a living. Most of the time, these individuals have tremendous people skills and easily carry conversations with strangers.
While a small Girl Scout dressed in bright green shorts and a vest covered in badges can encourage homeowners to feel a certain sense of obligation to make a purchase, an aggressive adult can plague people with a whole different sense of pressure.
Some solicitors can be pressuring. It is not uncommon for them to have a rebuttal to any excuse a homeowner might give, and for many solicitors, it is their job to coerce people into making a sale. Others who knock on your door during the summer may not be permitted solicitors at all. They may be looking to get personal information from homeowners and steal their identity or money.
Identity theft and stolen money are one way people are scammed. Individuals may be persuaded into signing up for magazine subscriptions that never come in the mail, or donating money to help a child reach their goal. Many scammers are teens. These teens tell homeowners they are raising money for a charity, or are trying to sell enough merchandise to get a scholarship. Whatever the excuse, most people are swayed into buying something.
Some children who are going door to door are victims as well. They are unaware that the cause they are raising money for is a fraud. These scamming companies employ young, naive children, and convince them that they are working for a noble cause. In reality, these children are the ones out doing the scamming.
Here are some things to look for to suggest that the solicitor is a scammer:
• They may try to distract you by talking about something other than the “product” they are selling to hook your attention.
• A con artist may try to appeal to your conscience and play on sympathies to guilt you into buying something from them.
• They tend to make heads spin from talking too fast. Hearing yourself think becomes impossible.
• Don’t be surprised if they try to come off as though the two of you are best buds. If they can get you on their side, they can more easily talk you into doing whatever they want. Because of this, look out for conversation about your hobbies and interests.
• They usually do something strange that will tip you off. Whether it is asking to borrow your phone or inviting themselves inside, keep your eyes open for clues.
To be sure you are not tricked into losing your money to a scammer, ask to see a permit. Individuals going door-to-door in the Bryan, College Station area must have a permit from the city. As a customer of these salesmen and saleswomen, you are entitled to request seeing their permits.
Some subdivisions in the area do not allow solicitors at all, regardless of whether or not they have permits from the city. If this is the case, solicitors may receive a fine.
Here are some tips for encountering solicitors in the Bryan, College Station area:
o It is a reasonable rule of thumb to prohibit solicitors from entering your home.
o Remember that you can ask to see their city permit.
o Exercise your right to tell them “no” if you are not interested in purchasing from them.
o Don’t ever give out your personal information such as your birth date, social security number, and bank information.
o You are not obligated to make a purchase. Most services offered by door to door salesmen can be found here in town.
o If they refuse to leave your property when asked, call 911.
o If you live in an apartment, and plan to purchase a service that is offered to you by a solicitor, you must clear it with your apartment management first.
o You can put a sign on your door that says “No Soliciting.”
For more information on soliciting in the Bryan area, you can call 979-209-5010. For more information in the College Station area, call 979-764-3563.
Remember if you are planning on soliciting, doing so without a permit is a violation of city ordinance.
City permits are not valid on the Texas A&M University campus. Door to door salesmen are not allowed on the Texas A&M University campus either.
“The safety of our community does not have borders. It is the goal of every law enforcement agency to protect the citizens that we serve. Be the eyes and ears of your police department. When you see suspicious activity, contact the Texas A&M University Police Department at 979-845-2345; the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600; or the Bryan Police Department or the Brazos County Sheriff’s Department at 979-361-3888. Together we can make a difference in our community. Hear It – See It – Report It”