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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -
A local public official took to Facebook to try to spread his message on door-to-door soliciting.
Calcasieu Parish Ward 3 Marshal Joey Alcede says at the very least, you can get ripped off – or even worse, the person at the door could hurt you physically.
It's a wet morning and the rain is coming down. So, there are probably not too many door-to-door sales people pounding the pavement on this day. Yet, just a couple of weeks back, they were in this neighborhood. And Ward 3 Marshal Joey Alcede says it started with a knock at the door.
"It was a young man and he told me that he had come to see if I could help him and my neighbors said that I'd be happy to help him, that he's selling magazines to send to the troops in Afghanistan. Of course, I was familiar with this ploy because it's one that's used quite often by these people. They try to prey on the sympathy of the people with the troops in Afghanistan. And, of course, how do you even know if the magazines are even going to go to the troops in Afghanistan," Alcede said.
The incident so outraged Alcede that he began spreading the word from his Facebook page to beware of those knocking at your door. For one thing, such soliciting is illegal in Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish.
"Most consumers don't realize what the rules are and there's a city ordinance and a parish ordinance that prohibit door to doors sales," said Carmen Million of the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Louisiana.
And it's OK to refuse to answer the door.
"If you live alone, if you're a senior citizen, you do not have to answer the door. There's no rule that says you have to. If for some reason you do answer the door, tell them you're not interested, shut the door and call local law enforcement," Million said.
Luckily, for those in Alcede's neighborhood, he knew what to do.
"I informed him that I'd be happy to help him and I wanted to see his books and what he had received because what he was doing was against the law. There was some cash in his folder. There was a check for over $100 an elderly lady had written, purely on sympathy for troops in Afghanistan. We gave him a ride to the end of the street and told him to call for his ride, because they always have people that drop them off," he said.
Alcede points out that it's also a safety issue.
"A lot of times these people are casing homes for a burglary or assault at a later date. This one lady actually let the man into her home. Very scary," he said.
Again, Alcede recommends calling the police or Sheriff's Office to report illegal door-to-door soliciting.