How to Prevent Illegal Solicitation
Solicitors come in all forms, from annoying activists outside of your neighborhood supermarket to door to door salespeople looking for you to buy a magazine subscription or wrapping paper for their daughter's fundraising drive. The list is endless. Just about anyone today can walk up to your door and either sell you something or take your money for some purpose.
While not all solicitors are out to steal your money, it's important to separate the honest from the scams. If Sally, your next door neighbor, asks you to buy Girl Scout cookies, obviously this would not be classified as a scam. But if you are approached with information about an unknown organization sponsoring an unknown charity or fundraiser, you should err on the side of caution before you take out your wallet.
Some solicitors will sell you on a personal story about their financial hardships to get you to take the desired action. They may ask you to sign a petition and once you do they will move to a more expensive purchase. They might tell you that by you making the purchase it will help them in some way. So you purchase the item and you never receive it in the mail.
First, call the number on the receipt (make sure to get a receipt) and also research it on popular phone scam database sites like http://www.numberinvestigator.com. Next, find the company on the Better Business Bureau website and check for a rating.
It can take a long time to recover the money you paid and it may not even be worth the hassle. The best method to preventing solicitor fraud is to research companies before you purchase anything from a door to door salesperson. Ask for a contract that lists cancelation deadlines or a refund policy and tell them you will need extra time to research the organization. Don't give in to aggressive sales tactics and don't be afraid to say 'no'.