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Door to Door Sales Scams Pervasive in New York

Photo: Kristine Bellino, WIBX

Utica Police Sergeant Steve Hauck is warning area residents that door to door salesmen may not be who they say they are.

He says that while there are many legitimate door-to-door salespeople working the streets, there are those who are after personal information, or who are trying to scam the public.

Hauck is advising residents that any salesman who comes to the door in Utica must have a permit, and effective immediately no new permits are being issued in the city for energy sales.  Anyone who comes to the door hawking energy is not authorized to do so.

The moratorium on energy sales permits came after complaints of suspicious activity by some, and officials with the city have said that the move is not intended to single out any one entity, or group of entities, but merely to put an end to activity that appeared unsafe.

Utica City Clerk Patricia Lindsey confirms that there are no existing permits for door-to-door sales of energy, and therefore no company has been “grandfathered” in.  She says that the other municipalities have taken similar steps.  Anyone who is visited by a door-to-door salesperson in Utica should contact the Police Department at: (315) 735.3301 during non-business hours or the City Clerk at (315) 792.0113 to confirm whether the salesperson is authorized to sell door-to-door.  At this time there is not a list of licensed vendors available online.

Lindsey says the problem is bigger in the summertime, when food vendors come to their attention.  Hauck adds that when the weather turns warmer some otherwise legitimate firms go door-to-door selling items like driveway paving.  He says that, unless they are given a permit by the city to sell door-to-door, they are not authorized to do so.

Hauck says it is not the department’s practice to determine which companies are good and which are not, but only to convey who is licensed.  He says the elderly are particularly vulnerable to scam artists.

When in doubt officials say there is absolutely no harm in just not answering the door, or telling the salesperson to leave the information on the doorstep.

Rome City Clerk Louise Glasso says that the city of Rome does not have a moratorium on door-to-door solicitors.  However, she says that unauthorized solicitation is an “ongoing problem with all municipalities.”  She says “We are getting hit hard as well.”

To combat the problem the City of Rome has established an “Opt Out Registry” for residents who do not want to be solicited or canvassed.

City of Rome, New York Solicitation and Canvassing Opt-Out Form

Glasso says to complete the form residents should come to the Rome City Clerk’s office to file it.  Solicitors who are licensed are required to stop by the clerk’s office daily to pick up the very latest opt-out list and she says that no solicitors are exempted from acknowledging the list.

Information given to solicitors consists solely of the address to which they are not permitted to visit, with no other identifying information or names.  Details of the list, she says, are shared only with the Rome Police Department.

Rome residents looking for more information may contact the clerk’s office at: (315) 339.7658.

At this point the city of Utica does not have such a registry.



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