Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Scammer

Seems inventing "facts" to wring a buck out of someone is the American way.

I came home one day recently to find a folded sheet of white paper taped to my front door.

Do you know how Riverview ranks in
crime on a scale from 1 (low) to 10
(high) according to the U.S. Census
Bureau's American Community Survey?

For violent crime, it says, "we come in at a 6." For property crime it's a 7. In both cases, according to the flyer, "the U.S. average is 3."

At first glance it looks pretty scary, doesn't it? I could have placed myself in mortal danger simply by reading this thing before going inside!

Which is the idea. "What can I do to make myself safer?" People will ask. So how convenient that the flyer is a pitch to attend a meeting about "our new Neighborhood Watch Program."

It promises that an administrator from our HOA (homeonwers association) will be there as well as a sheriff's deputy.

And, look! Also there will be a security system salesman. He "will demo personal property security options." A photocopy of his card appears in the lower right-hand side of the flyer.

Now the scam alarm is going off. Once that kicks in my brain function follows and I realize that on any evenly-weighted scale from 1 to 10, the average is never 3.

What is five, Alex?

Then a little research showed that the U.S. Census Bureau's American community Survey, while real, does not count crime statistics. That would be the National Crime Victimization Survey, conducted by the U.S. Justice Department.

So the survey results are fiction. And it looks pretty certain that this whole thing is a ruse designed to lure me into a meeting with a guy who will use high pressure scare tactics to sell me a home security system.

Which, oh by the way, I already have.

If this person had actually contacted our HOA, he might have learned that all of our homes came with a security system included. Whether to pay for a monitoring service was left to each home buyer but the keypad and the rest of the hardware is already in place.

He may be a little disappointed in the turnout of his event. I got home not long after the flyers had been posted to all of our doors. Most were still up.

Until I walked around the neighborhood and peeled them all off.

UPDATE: Our HOA administrator informs me that the flyers were posted by a neighbor. The statistics are still bogus and the flyer still seems fishy but I have deleted the name of the security system salesperson because I don't know what role, if any, he had in the flyer's creation or the event's planning.

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