Let’s be honest. Any time you see someone walking up your sidewalk in a nicely pressed polyester suit with a clipboard, you cringe inside and hide behind the curtains. Door to door solicitors are now a much less common sight than they used to be, but we all know they’re still around. Sometimes, they take the form of vacuum salesmen and sometimes...they aren’t really salesmen at all!
Here are some home security tips to tell the difference between a salesmen and bona fide burglar:
Does he know what he’s selling?
A real salesmen will know his product inside and out. He’ll have an answer to every question without hesitation, and a persuasive argument for your every excuse. A burglar doesn’t usually take the time to memorize what he’s selling, so if you see him stumbling, failing to answer questions, or contradicting himself, it’s time to shut the door.
Does he work for an actual business?
A real salesmen will hand you a card with a phone number on it that, if you call, should connect you with another human being. While some criminals create elaborate schemes involving phony numbers and actors, most burglars will not go to any such unnecessary lengths. If you call that number and it’s disconnected, or there isn’t a phone number on his business card, you may want to consider activating your security system and alerting the police force that you’ve seen some suspicious characters.
Does he seem more interested in you, or looking behind you?
Thieves posing as salesmen are more inclined to invite themselves into your home to case the joint. If you don’t allow them in, you may notice them peering behind your shoulder, glancing in your windows, and examining the locks of your door. A real salesmen knows to step away from the door after knocking, respects your personal space, and stays focused on YOU-his potential sale.
What questions are they asking you?
It’s normal for a salesmen to hope to get your phone number, and if you’ve expressed interest in his products but have said that “now isn’t a good time”, he will most likely ask what time you’ll be around. While this isn’t necessarily the sign of a crook, it’s best to not answer that question. If you truly are interested in his products, tell him that you’ll call him to discuss it further. Also, don’t give out your home phone. Thieves will call that number while standing outside your home. If no one answers, they assume no one is at home and break in!
Another important tip to remember is that it’s completely appropriate to ask a solicitor for identification that can verify their place of employment. If they don’t have it, ask them to leave. If they don’t leave or if they become irate, shut the door and call the police. Chances are, your house isn’t the only one on the block that’s made it to their hit list, but you can make sure you’re the last! Keep your home and family safe by knowing how to spot a burglar.