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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
In Alaska, Oregon & Western Washington
Slick Summer Strangers Swindle and Scam
Beware of Door-To-Door Con Artists During Warm Weather
July 16, 2013

School may be out for the summer, but it isn’t just students who don’t have any class; the warm summer months are typically when traveling scammers move into neighborhoods and try to catch unsuspecting consumers off-guard. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington and the Office of the Washington State Attorney General remind potential customers to stay on their toes and avoid making impulsive front door purchases.

Salespersons touting products and services at “incredible once-in-a-lifetime” prices and performers seeking easy heists will likely be showing up on front porches across the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska over the next few months. BBB has received reports of many different types of situations:

  • Crooked Contractors: Handymen may be unlicensed, uninsured and unqualified to perform the promised tasks, requiring large upfront deposits and then performing poor work or no work at all.
  • Immoral Installers: Home security technicians scare homeowners into lengthy contracts using home invasion horror stories but fail to disclose the terms; cancelling can be extremely difficult and result in expensive penalties.
  • Mischievous Magaziners: Students selling magazine subscriptions may not be aware that they are working for illegitimate organizations; complainants allege being severely overbilled or never receiving issues at all.
  • Shady Sob Stories: Distressed motorists plea for help after having vehicles break down, asking to use telephones or restrooms, but make quick getaways after pilfering valuables left out in the open.

Avoid fraud by following common sense rules:

  1. Always ask for identification and take the time to verify; legitimate solicitors will be patient and reasonable.
  2. Never get bullied into a purchase; if a solicitor is pushy or creating an uncomfortable atmosphere, ask him or her to leave immediately.
  3. Always get every aspect of a sale in writing; thoroughly read contracts to fully understand the transactions.

Don’t get burned this summer—by scammers or the sun. Visit akorww.bbb.org/bbb-news for the latest scam alerts and consumer news. Victims of fraud are encouraged to file complaints with Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/file-a-complaint ; Washingtonians may also file complaints with Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, at atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint .

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 113 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information, contact BBB or visit bbb.org.