NORWICH – The Norwich City Police Department is warning residents to beware of a new scam that’s popped up in the area and across several other regions of New York State.
Authorities have received several complaints from city dwellers concerning possible criminals posing as door-to-door vendors. And two recent incidents, while different in their approach, ended with similar results: one involving a man asking to buy antique furniture, possibly in an effort to scope out the house for a future burglary, the second involving an elderly female resident purchasing magazines for “the men serving in Afghanistan,” said Norwich Police Chief Joseph Angelino.
“There are certain people out there whose only job is to separate a victim from their money,” added Angelino. “Please don’t help them do this ... there are plenty of goods and services available right here in town.”
That second incident, according to the chief, ended with the woman writing a check – which was subsequently cashed – although there is no way to verify the authenticity of any subscriptions allegedly sent overseas.
“I’ve deployed in the military and I know several publishing companies send free magazines to all military units deployed,” said Angelino. “There is no need for citizens to do this unless they are sending directly to a friend or family member.”
A third scam, said authorities, involved a man posing as a tree service employee, in the state’s capital district, while a fourth involves the sale of photographic packages of the victim’s children or grandchildren. As part of the tree service scam, the suspect knocks on a resident’s door, tells the homeowner he will be “doing some tree work” in a neighboring yard and needs the resident’s permission to trim some branches overhanging the homeowner’s yard, said Angelino. After the suspect and unwitting victim exit the house to examine the phony trimming project, a second suspect enters the home, stealing valuables such as money and jewelry.
According to Angelino, all vendors within city limits are required to register with City Hall, and peddler’s permits are only issued after a background check is completed, including a check into the company such peddlers represent and the individuals themselves.
“We take this very seriously, and we rely upon residents to call us when they have someone suspicious come to their door. Please don’t hesitate to contact the police,” he added.
The following tips were offered to potential victims:..