The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about seasonal door-to-door scams, most recently a scheme in which people pose as students involved in a fundraiser.
Reported incidents indicate that well-dressed, college-age young men are approaching people under the guise of raising money for a school trip. They claim they attend local universities and that their parents live nearby, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The pitch differs, but on some occasions the suspects ask for $118 for a trip to an overseas sports tournament, a Sheriff’s Office news release says. If the homeowner seems hesitant, the release adds, the young men reduce the price and offer magazine subscriptions. A suspect even will present an official-looking flyer and receipt, but those documents do not contain valid information, the news release adds.
In a separate but similar scam, the perpetrator claims to be a state or county worker doing tree work or other contracting in the area. On at least one occasion, the suspect has distracted the victim, entered a home and left with the resident’s checkbook or valuables, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“However the scam plays out, we want to remind residents to not open their door to uninvited guests, even if they claim to be neighbors or claim to be doing official work,” the news release says.
Anyone who feels unsafe should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately, so deputies can contact the individuals and verify the nature of their business. Residents may call 911 or the non-emergency number, 316-1201.