Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Selling magazines door to door for charity

We had two cases in one week - one was a mom trying to raise money for their soccer club and another to help the troops. After "subscribing" to this several times over the course of 5 years (e.g. to raise money for college, to help kids get a fresh start) I finally decided to check it out which validated what I've always suspected. This is nothing more than a scam. A scan of google searches came up with these:

1. Coal Run Police Chief Todd Akers says people are claiming they are selling magazine subscriptions for a charity or a college, but he says their stories do not check out.
He says no local charities or colleges say they are selling magazine subscriptions.

2. Yes, some of the sellers are hardened dyed in the wool con artists with criminal records, but you may also want to keep in mind that an increasing number of the sellers are innocent people who have gotten trapped into this form of modern day indentured servitude/youth exploitation by unscrupulous "recruiters". Some of the sellers may be as young as 14, but are telling people they are 18.

3. Traveling Sales Crews via Absolute Write.
From the latter link:
The kids who just came to my door (all adorable wide-eyed smiles when trying to hook me, and abusive and cursing when I politely turned them down) were from American Community Services, Inc., but there are many such organizations that function like gangs and ensnare kids into a truly horrible lifestyle.

4. In Seattle, WA: If a young person knocks on your door and says they're selling magazines for a charity, wait before reaching for your pocketbook. Fresh Start Opportunities claims that money from the subscriptions will be used to help young people get a “fresh start on life,” but the company isn’t a registered charity. ... Solicitors represent that the purchase of subscriptions will help young people get off the street and back on their feet so they can earn money to go to school. ... A 19-year-old man working for Fresh Start Opportunities was arrested in October after he allegedly broke into an Edmonds home, attacked the owner and stole her purse. The man was also a suspect in burglaries in Sammamish and Tumwater. Fresh Start Opportunities employees have also been linked to California thefts.

What if these "sales people" are also using this as a pretext to see how vulnerable a home is to burglary?

Perhaps not answering the door is the best option.

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