By Mike Nichols
Mayor, Solana Beach
Recently, there seems to be an abundance of door-to-door solicitors in our local neighborhoods. This increase is likely due to the tough economic times we are experiencing. While some of these individual or groups may represent legitimate charities or other nonprofits, some do not.
For this reason, it is important that our community beware of potential scammers and take caution when a solicitor knocks on your door. If somebody does knock on your door trying to sell you something or asking you for money, they must have a permit issued by the city of Solana Beach. However, possession of a permit does not mean that the city endorses them. You should always use caution and your best judgment when being approached by solicitors.
While many are legitimate solicitors, others may have other motives than selling magazines or services when going door-to-door, such as burglary or theft. It is important to acknowledge that you are at home when they knock to possibly thwart any attempt to burglarize your home. It is best to talk through the door without opening it. Even if you are convinced that the person knocking on your door is a legitimate solicitor, you are not obligated to open the door for anyone.
There have also been complaints of aggressive, persistent sales tactics and refusals to vacate the property without a sale or donation. Some door-to-door solicitors are quite convincing and have elaborate stories. They may try to persuade you by saying they are friends with your neighbors or live nearby to start a conversation, and then pressure you to buy something or give them money.
A simple rule of thumb is to be cautious when anybody approaches your door. If somebody does knock and attempt a solicitation, you can simply tell the solicitor through the door that you are not interested. Don't allow intimidation or guilt to rule your decision on whether or not to give, and never let a stranger into your home.
If you feel threatened or suspect a door-to-door canvasser is fraudulent, call the sheriff at the nonemergency line immediately at (760) 966-3501.