Hinsdale PD to Residents: Be Wary of Solicitors
The same skills that honest solicitors use to sell products can be used to take advantage of residents, as well, a department release says.
The following is a release from the Hinsdale Police Department:
Following a recent increase in the number of solicitors reported within the community, the police department is reminding residents of the importance of safety tips to protect oneself from becoming a victim of a scam or burglary. Solicitors often use tactics to “socially engineer” people into purchasing their products, but sometimes they use these tactics to commit crimes and burglarize homes.
Residents are reminded to be aware of any person(s) that may appear at their doorstep (or their neighbor’s) wishing to provide a service that had not been requested, asking for someone that does not live there, or is acting like they must be at the wrong address. This in and of itself should be a red flag that cautions the resident before engaging further into conversation with the solicitor, and increasing the chances of becoming a victim of a “ruse” burglary.
Ruse burglaries are a common method of operation for residential burglary. They are also referred to as gypsy scams in which the suspects may pose as utility workers and attempt to create a diversion that allows an accomplice to enter a home during the diversion and commit a burglary. Although there have been two reported incidents of ruse burglaries in Hinsdale within the last year, these types of burglaries are common in the Chicago suburbs.
Strangers should never be allowed access into your yard, home or garage if unsolicited. Residents should also take measures to verify identity and the sponsorship of any solicitors.
Whether its by phone, online, or at your door-step, consider the following tips to protect yourself from solicitations:
- Solicitors in Hinsdale must display a photo ID solicitor permit granted by the police department. Verify the name of the organization to include their address, phone number and the identity of the caller or the person at your door step.
- Be suspicious when asked for ‘cash’ only donations
- Be aware of solicitors using high pressure tactics or solicitors who prey upon your sympathies to get an immediate donation
- Never make arrangements to have someone pick up money from your home
- Be aware that many phone solicitors are actually calling from across the state or even out-of-state
- At your convenience research the charity online before you make a decision to donate
- Never assume that a friendly voice belongs to a trustworthy person
- Never allow a solicitor into your home to use the bathroom or to complete paperwork
- Always ask for identification or to see their Village of Hinsdale Solicitor’s permit before listening to any sales pitch
- When paying for a product, always use a check. Be sure to write the check out to the organization and not to the individual soliciting. Always get a receipt
- Never give your credit card number or Social Security number to a solicitor
- If a product seems too inexpensive or too good to be true, it probably is
Most importantly, be cautious in expecting any unwanted solicitor or service worker appearing at your doorstep that may have criminal motives rather than soliciting a service. Residential security systems should be used, if so equipped, when leaving the residence or retiring for the evening to protect your home while you are away. Further, don’t disclose your vacation plans on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Contact the police department if a solicitor will not take no for an answer, is very aggressive, violates the No Soliciting law, or seems very suspicious. If you observe behavior that is unusual or suspicious, contact the Hinsdale Police Department by calling 9-1-1. It is important to report an accurate description of the person(s) clothing, height, gender, and race. If you observe a vehicle, note the color, make, style, and/or license plate.
Soliciting hours in Hinsdale are 9:00am-9:00pm, Monday to Friday.