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BBB warning of door-to-door sales scam

Posted at 1:24 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 19:18:29-05

LAFAYETTE, La. - The BBB is alerting the public to a scam.

BBB received a tip from a consumer that a person was going door-to-door soliciting for a local charity. The consumer stated that the young man said that he was with another organization called Literacy Outreach Program. The consumer did purchase an item from the young man and the receipt claims the approved recipient was the local Boys and Girls Club.

KATC's Katie Easter spoke with Laurian Clause with the BBB on Wednesday afternoon, who said, "[The man] spoke as if the recipient would be the local Boys and Girls Club."

BBB contacted the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana and according to a representative with the charity, there is no affiliation with the representative's organization nor do they know of any donations that they would be receiving from the organization. If you are interested in donating to the Boys and Girls Club, contact them at 337-268-9555 or go to their website at www.bgcacadiana.com.

According to the Literacy Outreach Program's website, they are listed as a for-profit organization helping raise literacy rates. They also state that they are in no way affiliated with any local or national charity, hospital, or other agency.

The website gives you options to purchase products that you may gift to any approved organization. However, gifts may only be sent to areas that are willing to accept your gifts to promote literacy rates.

BBB attempted to try to reach out to the Literacy Outreach Program to confirm the person going door-to-door is representative and to get more information, including their location. They have not responded to their call.

The Boys and Girls Club confirmed to KATC they have no record of any arrangement with the program.

Our Katie Easter spoke with a representative of the Literacy Outreach Program on the phone. He confirms there are people going door-to-door in Acadiana and claims the Boys and Girls Club will be getting gifts that have been bought so far. The representative hung up when Easter told him she was recording the conversation.

BBB gives these tips on door-to-door charity solicitations:

  • Ask about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license. Ask if the salesperson has checked in with the city and gotten proper licensing. If you are not sure if your city requires a permit, call your city offices.
  • Check identification. A reputable seller will give you all the information you ask for, including a photo ID and a business card.
  • Verify the individual and the company/charity. Tell the salesperson you want to call the company directly. A legitimate salesperson should not have a problem with this. Research the company and contact them to check if the salesperson is an employee. Read the company's Business Profile and customer reviews at bbb.org [bbb.org].
  • Watch out for charity name confusion. Be alert to questionable groups seeking to confuse donors with names that sound similar to charities you know.
  • Resist pressure to give on the spot. Don't give in to excessive pressure on the phone to make an immediate donation or purchase.
  • Find out more. The charity/organization's website provides access to information on its programs, board roster and finances. You can also verify government registration. About 40 of the 50 states in the U.S. require charities to register with the attorney general's office or secretary of their state.
  • Do an online search to reveal potential scams. Search the person or charity/organization in question along with the words "complaint" and "scam." What you find could reveal a dishonest scheme. BBB Scam Tracker can help you learn from others' experiences (BBB.org/ScamTracker).
  • Check for BBB Accreditation. Visit bbb.org to check out businesses before doing business or give.org to obtain charity reviews.

For more resources, visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance's website for smart giving tips and check out this video from the Federal Trade Commission about making your donations count.

If you've been the victim of a charity scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. By sharing your experience, you can help others avoid falling victim to similar scams, according to the BBB.

To learn more about all types of scams, visit BBB.org/ScamTips and BBB.org/AvoidScams.

BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.