Local News

Wake Residents on Alert for Possible Magazine Scam

Posted April 26, 2007 12:48 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2007 6:36 p.m. EDT

— At first, Wake County resident Jackie Craig didn't think anything of it when two young people came to her door and identified themselves as Florida college students trying to raise money for a trip to Italy.

"I wouldn't even usually open a door for a stranger mid-day, but they kind of looked like they could be neighbors," she said. "They looked like they fit in pretty well, but I wasn't really suspicious at first."

But that soon changed when Craig said they asked for a glass of water.

"This is not a time of the year when colleges take a break, so that was a red flag to me. They were very flattering, paying compliments," she said. "I started to get suspicious."

Craig said she looked around, didn't see a car, and then they asked her if there were other neighbors home that she thought would want to buy some magazines.

Raleigh police say the so-called students are likely to be part of a larger team involved in a door-to-door magazine scheme and are warning the residents that if they are approached to keep their doors closed and not to give money.

"It was a fraud -- a flim-flam -- and it was money collected for which nothing was ever going to be received," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

Police, last week, received a tip from law enforcement authorities in Kentucky about the scheme, and authorities have received several reports similar to Craig's.

Although there have been no reports of anyone trying to enter residences, police are concerned that the sellers might be trying to case houses or harm someone.

'There are very few legitimate door-to-door solicitations these days," Sughrue said.

Eric Dixon said that when he was in his 20s, he worked for a company similar to the ones police are warning the public. He said, he was sent to Virginia, drove to neighborhoods and told to lie to make a sale. He was encouraged to get cash for any sales so that the transaction could not be traced.

"It's a scam to the customers who think they're buying magazines," Dixon said. "And it's a scam to the people who are trying to do the sales who think they legitimately have a job when they don't."

After about a month, Dixon said he quit, gave back the money to victims. He said he never got paid for his work.

"Each day, the lies became stronger and stronger and stronger, and I had a real bad complex about it," he said.

Anyone who is concerned about the scheme or approached should call local law enforcement immediately to investigate.