H-SANTA MARIA

Feb 10, 2012 8:59 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Santa Maria couple almost become victims of door-to-door scam

A Santa Maria couple feels very fortunate tonight, after they almost became victims of a door-to-door scam, and you may be target of a similar scam.

It's been happening a lot here on the Central Coast.

According to San Luis Obispo Police, solicitor scams happen fairly often. The scammers are usually selling magazines, books, candy and even spray bottle cleaners. They tend to be pushy, and about 99% of them don't have a city business license.

Tim and Renee Belton had heard of stories about solicitors on the news, but they never thought they would actually be ones to fall for it.

"My wife and I are really pretty wary about this stuff, and here we had bought in to this guys story. Even though it didn't feel right, we gave him our money," said Tim Belton of Santa Maria.

After coming home from running errands Thursday afternoon, the Belton's were approached by a young man who said he was joining the Marines. "It just seemed like he was trying to better himself," added Belton.

He told them he was about to go into basic training. He was also selling books. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes, and ended with the Belton's writing a check for $80 for a book. "He was a very good talker. He would donate the proceeds to St. Jude's and we like to help charity," said Belton.

After the man left, Tim wasn't completely sold, so he went online to find out more about the company. What he found, shocked him. "It just rolled up page after page of complaints about this company saying that people had lost their money to them and had never gotten their order and couldn't track it down," said Belton.

Tim was able to track down the man at a local park and asked for the check back. However, not everyone can be so lucky.

Police note that if you are confronted by a solicitor and you are a little hesitant, ask for their city business license, as they all should have them.

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