JANESVILLE, Wis. - Police in Janesville are warning residents against scam artists posing as home security employees.
Last week Janesville police received three complaints from homeowners within days of each other. All three homeowners reported suspicious men claiming to be home security salesmen trying to gain access to their homes.
"Be suspicious. That's the problem, when people aren't suspicious and they're not taking that extra step to ask questions, they can become the victim of a burglary, a theft, an assault," Janesville police officer, Chad Sullivan said.
Sullivan said although the men have not posed a threat, he wants citizens to be on guard.
"They're approaching asking them if they are having any problems with their service. Representing themselves as a certain company that is working for the company that they have and just trying somehow, for some reason to get into the houses to look at their systems," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said some homes targeted already had a security sign on their front lawn, which could have been an invitation to the men.
In all three cases, residents said the salesmen did not attempt to steal anything; however the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said residents should know their rights before allowing a sales person access to their home.
"Wisconsin law requires that a salesman gives you their name, their company's name and disclose what their selling before they begin any type of pitch. Many municipalities require that anyone who goes door to door have a permit to do so, so at the very least you can ask them for identification," said Sandy Chalmers, administrator at DATCP.
In Janesville, all door to door salesmen are required to register with the city. Sullivan said the city has no vendor record of the men registering to sell any products, which leads the department to assume the alleged salesmen were targeting the homes.
"We can only assume that they are trying to get into these houses to see the layout of the homes. They might have a plan to come back and burglarize the home if they know a certain door faces a certain way," Sullivan said.
In one report, Sullivan said one of the alleged salesmen smelled of alcohol, which should be another indicator that these men are not from a legitimate sales company.
Janesville police suggest that residents ask solicitors for proper identification and report any suspicious activity to the police department.