Metro East sales scam targets parents for back to school

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by Mike Colombo / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 23 at 6:50 PM

MEHLVILLE, Il (KMOV.com) -- School starts in just a few weeks and News 4 has a warning for families as they prepare to send their kids off.

A Mehlville mother says a man claiming affiliation with the Mehlville School District was going door to door in her neighborhood trying to sell books for students.

She said the man knew a lot about her family and Mehlville’s Superintendent says this suspicious salesman is not connected to the district.

With a youngster attending Mehlville schools, Jasmine Barbee says the sales pitch from the man who visited her home last week seemed pretty realistic.

“Hhe mentioned the name of the superintendent of the Mehlville School District, showed me a list of names, dropping names of teachers, who he’s working with,” she said.

The salesman didn’t just know a lot about her son’s school.

“He had met with other people, he had gone to other people, door-to-door in my neighborhood and he was basically mining those people for information about myself, my family,” she said. “He was, he was articulate, very polite.”

Deciding she’d chat with her husband before buying, Barbee tried to get the salesman’s contact information.

“He wouldn’t provide me with that information,” she said. “Then I noticed his car had out-of- state plates and he noticed that I was looking at that and he provided an excuse as to why his plates were out of state.”

The Mehlville School District wants parents to know this whole operation has no connection to the district.

“You could expect they would have id we’re not going to send people door to door to sell thigns that’s just not our business,” said Superintendent Erick Knost.

“I normally don’t fall for that I don’t even speak to solicitors but because he told me he was with the Mehlville School District I felt I had an obligation to speak with him about this material,” Barbee said.

Mehlville says it received reports of similar sales scams last year. Remember if an unsolicited salesperson comes to your door, ask a lot of questions. If they’re legitimate, they shouldn’t hesitate showing you proper identification.

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