With a new data breach or online scam making the news every other week (or so it seems) the internet can feel like a major arena for identity theft and fraud.
With a new data breach or online scam making the news every other week (or so it seems) the internet can feel like a major arena for identity theft and fraud. Fraudsters are still having success with old-fashioned, door-to-door scams, however, and sometimes the risk can show up right on your front doorstep.
Three common cases to keep at the curb:
- A free home security inspection that opens your doors to robbers.
In this scenario, a scammer will knock on your door and inform you that a string of burglaries has happened in your area. Sounds pretty scary, right? Well, the scammer will try to use the fear factor to sell you on a home security inspection. He or she will then take note of locations of valuables and security weak points, and not for your own good, but to use as a guide in a subsequent robbery.
- A tree-trimming ruse to distract you from theft.
Imagine you are out working in your backyard when someone from a tree-trimming service approaches you, claims he or she is doing work in the neighborhood and asks if you would move your vehicle. You ask about the work being done, and the worker immediately becomes confrontational and starts making a scene. While you deal with this apparent conflict, an accomplice of the scammer slips into your home to steal as many valuables as possible.
- A promise to restore electricity that leaves you without cash.
When a neighborhood experiences a power outage, scammers will sometimes head to the affected area to knock on doors. They show a fake utility company badge to homeowners and ask for a fee (usually less than $100) to restore the power. When the electricity comes back on (thanks to the actual utility company), victims often have no idea they were just scammed.
Keep you and your home under lock and key.
Inspections, services and utilities are not the only types of door-to-door scams. They can range from roof and siding repair offers to building code violations to door-to-door sales schemes. No matter whom they show up as, follow these tips to keep scammers from getting a “foot in the door:”
- If an offer for service is unsolicited, don’t respond.
- Always schedule appointments for service on your property ahead of time so you know who is coming and when.
- Always ask for an ID when a service person arrives at your house.
- If an unexpected service person shows up, ask him or her to wait outside while you look up the company online. Be wary of IDs, as the information may be fake. And, you can always ask the person to return next week to buy yourself some time.
- If you live alone, never share this with an unexpected visitor.
- Never give cash to someone offering a door-to-door service or demanding payment, and be especially cautious of anyone demanding immediate, up-front payment.
- Be sure to report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.
- Tell your neighbors about any unusual experiences you have had or observed. This could help them avoid becoming victims.
- Keep your doors locked, even while you are home.
How Verve can help
If you think your Verve account is at risk because of a door-to-door or any other type of scam, call Verve immediately at 800.448.9228. One of our team members can help check your account for purchases you did not make and safeguard your account against fraud. You can also rest assured that if our fraud block system, OmniShield, detects potentially fraudulent use of your debit or credit card, a temporary hold will be placed on it, and you’ll receive a text message with details about the suspicious transaction.
It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our guiding 7 Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on financial risks and ways to stay safe. Help your friends and family stay safe against door-to-door scams by sharing this blog post.