There are two recent and very compelling examples in the news of why we should not open our front doors for people we do not know. One was a woman who was home alone with her one year old, who thankfully did not open her door for the person who knocked unexpectedly. He had a gun in his hand while two accomplices hid around the corner with zip ties in hand. This chilling incident was caught on a security camera http://www2.tbo.com/news/2012/jan/04/hillsborough-deputies-search-for-home-in-40839-vi-25564/ and should be a lesson to us all. Another sad story was the woman who opened her door for ironically a door-to-door home security salesman. The woman stated that she could not make a decision because her husband was not home. The man then forced his way through the open door, assaulted her and threatened her life if she told anyone http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/article1208619.ece.
Here are some simple tips to stay safe:
- Do not open the door for anyone you did not invite to your home.
- Decide how you will handle unexpected knocks at your door before they happen and stick to the plan.
- Do not be afraid of appearing rude.
- Ignoring the unexpected knock or doorbell is an acceptable option.
- Install an intercom. Wireless units are available on-line and in home improvement stores.
- Talk through the door if you must, but do not get frustrated and open it.
- If the person says it is an emergency, tell them you are calling 911 for them and do so.
- Make sure your entire family understands the plan.
According to Edward Marchiselli, President of consumer safety company AsktheSeal.com, "People know they should not open the front door for strangers, but when that doorbell rings, the Pavlovian urge to answer it is overwhelming. It's difficult and at times impossible to communicate through a closed door. You don't want to be rude and you wonder if there is an important reason the person is there. You need to decide how you and your family are going to handle these unexpected knocks before they happen and stick to the plan. An intercom is great if you have it. Regardless of whether you are able to communicate or not, you should not open your door for anyone who you did not call and schedule an appointment with. Even when you have a scheduled appointment, you need to be sure the person at the door is the person you are expecting."
- If allowing an appointment with someone who solicited you by phone, confirm on your own that they have a business license and physical location. Call the company (not the person or phone number given to you by the telephone solicitor) and confirm that the solicitor works for that company and schedule the appointment through the company.
- When scheduling an appointment, question the company about who they are sending to your home.
- Will they be driving a marked company car?
- Will they be wearing a uniform?
- Will they have a company photo ID Badge?
- Have they passed a national and local criminal and sex offender background check?
- How long ago was their last background check?
- What is the company’s policy on hiring people with criminal convictions?
- What offenses disqualify applicants from employment and specifically from being sent to your home?
- Can they email you a photo of the employee so you can be sure it is them at your door?
- Just because the employee has passed a background check, do not abandon common sense and take appropriate precautions.
About AsktheSeal.com- AsktheSeal.com is a free service to consumers and no login is required. Companies with the AsktheSeal.com Seal of Approval can email you a photo of the person coming to your home with verification of their annual criminal background check. The employee showing up to your home will have a photo ID issued by AsktheSeal.com further verifying their background check.