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Better Business Bureau: How to spot scams

SPOKANE, Wash - With the National Night Out approaching, the Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific is urging citizens to be cautious of door-to-door scams.

Last year, thousands of consumers filed complaints against door-to-door salesmen which included scams of home improvement, magazine sales, meat sales and home security systems. 

In June, a Spokane couple lost $80 to a fraudulent car repairman who was supposed to remove a dent and ended up damaging the car further. 

Scammers will usually stop by your home and offer a special service or pretend to be with a utility, security, or cable company. 

Here are some tips avoid door-to-door scams:

  •  Do your research. Tell the salesperson you may be interested, but to come back at another time. Consumers should also tell salespeople this if they claim to be affiliated with your utility company or someone you actually do business with. It’s best to always follow-up directly using verifiable contact information on the company's official website or bbb.org/northwest-pacific.  
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give consumers time to think through the deal. Avoid sellers who need an immediate answer, offer “once in a lifetime” or “today only” deals and put pressure into signing a contract.  
  • Ask for the salesperson's identification. Any legitimate salesperson should be able to provide identification for both themselves and their company such as a permit, business license or business card.   
  • Get it in writing. When making a deal with the salesperson, be sure to get a receipt and a written contract including any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information.  
  • Don’t pay in full right away. Be sure to avoid paying in full until the work is completed to your satisfaction. It’s also wise to pay with a credit card for further protection.   
  • Remember the Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule.” This rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases over $25 made at their home or other location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business.  

If you've ever been a victim of a door-to-door scam you can help others avoid being scammed by filing a report with the Better Business Bureau by visiting their website BBB.org/Scamtracker


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