Wouldn’t it be great if you could just opt out of receiving door-to-door solicitors? Some homeowners put up, “Please, No Soliciting” signs, but that doesn’t mean a few traveling salesmen won’t disrespect the sign and knock on your door anyway. When we think of solicitors, we tend to think of them as an annoyance, but they can be much more than that.
Door-to-door solicitation has given burglars an excuse to go right up to your door, knock, meet you and even ask you questions about your life without you suspecting a thing.
If you live in a neighborhood that sees a lot of solicitation, keep these tips in mind the next time you hear a knock at your door.
Step Out and Shut the Door
Before even opening your front door, look through the peephole to see who’s there. Ask questions through the door to find out if this person sounds legitimate. If they struggle to prove they’re from a business, send them on their way and stop communicating. If what they’re selling intrigues you, only open your door wide enough so that you can slip out and shut it behind you. Solicitors should not get a look inside your home—they may be burglars scoping it out.
Beware of Their Survey Questions
Beware of the survey questions solicitors ask. Some questions like, “What’s your tax bracket” or “Do you work from home or go into an office?” should raise flags. These are questions burglars may ask to find out whether or not your home is worth returning to later, and when they can return to an empty house.
Use a Smart Doorbell
Install a smart doorbell so that even when you aren’t home, you can speak through the speaker and make it sound like you are. Some burglars pose as solicitors knocking on doors, just to determine the habits of residents, when they’ll be home and when they won’t. A smart doorbell can make it seem like you are always at home.
Remember One Product is Linked to Another
Burglars posing as solicitors often sell a product that is linked to another, so that they can determine what you already have in your house. For example, they may pretend to be selling surround sound speakers for big screen televisions, and ask if you have a big screen television, what kind, how new it is and so on, all under the guise of finding you the right speaker. Never answer questions about what belongings and valuables you have inside.
Turn On Your Surveillance
If your home receives a lot of solicitors, keep your surveillance on at all times. Should burglaries begin to happen in your neighborhood, your archived surveillance footage can show you if any door-to-door solicitors displayed strange behavior, like looking into windows, or wandering around aimlessly.
Ask Most of the Questions
Don’t let solicitors dominate the conversation; interrupt them and ask them plenty of questions before they ask you any. If this is a burglar posing as a solicitor, he’ll immediately become nervous at your slew of questions and leave.
Remember: You Don’t Need to Answer
Even though it feels rude, you don’t need to answer the door. You have no civil duty to answer the door anytime somebody shows up. Look through the peephole and if you don’t recognize the person and were not expecting anybody, go on about your day.
Don’t Say You Live Alone
If you live alone, never let a solicitor know that. Make up a spouse or roommate in conversation. You can even yell to a roommate who isn’t even there to sell your story.
Call the Police If Necessary
If you ever see a solicitor walking around your property, looking into windows, in your garden, or in your car, call the police right away. This is not normal behavior and you don’t need to accept it.
As much as door-to-door solicitation may bother people, many homeowners still feel obligated to open their door and engage in conversation. Burglars prey on this behavior, so you need to be extra careful if your neighborhood sees a lot of solicitation.