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Ryn: Beware of wailing baby and other Tucson scams

RYN GARGULINSKI

Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski

Never answer your door to a wailing baby.

While the obvious reason is to shield yourself from a headache, diaper change, spittle and all other fun stuff wailing babies are known to offer, it’s also to protect yourself from a scam.

One legendary ploy tells of folks who hear a wailing baby or pitifully mewling kitten right outside their door.

Being kindhearted, these folks open the door to rescue the poor waif.

They are then immediately bashed in the head with a two-by-four and left bleeding on the porch steps while the people who played the tape recording of the wailing baby or mewling kitting are free to rob the house.

While no screaming baby came to my door of late, I did have another visitor with a game that smelled as bad as the soiled baby diaper.

My first mistake was breaking one of my cardinal rules: I answered the door.

Unless you’re expecting someone, people at the door are usually nosy neighbors, bill collectors or long lost friends you wish would stay long lost.

The dude at the door said he was from an alarm company and wanted to put one of those little alarm security signs in my front yard.

In exchange for the free advertising, the company would install the system for free, a $1,200 value, said he.

He had neither a business card nor brochure to leave. He wanted an answer right then and there or he’d offer it to someone else.

He also name-dropped a neighbor who he claimed was fully delighted to go with the deal and wanted to check to make sure my home had the same layout as hers.

At this point he started pushing his way into my house.

At this point I told him to go fly a kite. I also got his name and cell phone number on a scrap of paper then swiftly called the alarm company.

Well, it took about a week to call the alarm company. I had to first ruminate about what a close call I had since the guy was surely a rapist, robber and throat-slasher disguised as an alarm man.

No, the alarm company said when I finally called, we don’t usually employ rapists, robbers and throat-slashers. Yes, we are running a similar-sounding special in your area.

The rep also said their employees should have corporate ID numbers that you can check on the company’s Web site.

It was unusual he didn’t have brochures but not that he didn’t have business cards.

“We’re trying to go green,” the rep said.

As for trying to shove his way into my house? He could have simply been a crappy salesman.

Another possible Tucson scam is the dude posing as the moving man.

A guy comes to the door with a dolly and other moving equipment. When you answer, he claims he has the wrong house. If you don’t, he promptly breaks in and takes everything you own.

Since he’s already armed with those big blankets that insure your tabletops won’t get scratched, hauling out all your belongings is no great feat.

Neighbors probably wouldn’t even blink in these days of foreclosures and repossessed belongings.

Scammers especially like to prey on single women, seniors and others who they think are vulnerable.

One senior in Indiana was left with a busted-up front porch when a scammer posed as a home improvement specialist, according to Senior Magazine Online. She scammer took a sledgehammer to the porch, took money from the senior to go get more supplies, and then never came back.

Another Indiana senior, who was unable to get outside to supervise the work, paid to have new asphalt installed on the driveway. After taking the cash, the scammer coated the top of the old driveway with motor oil to make it look black.

Have a nice day.

Your day will be even nicer if you’re always on guard, always ask for ID or a license number for professions that should be licensed and never hand over cash.

It would be nicer still if you followed my rule and simply didn’t answer the door.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist and performer who is going to keep with her belief of never answering the door. Her column appears every Friday at TucsonCitizen.com. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.party934.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitrizen.com

Gallery of Tucson scams, TucsonCitizen.com archives:

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0 thoughts on “Ryn: Beware of wailing baby and other Tucson scams

  1. Are these scammers that good? Or are people just that dumb? Especially the ‘somethin’ for nuthin’ scams. Hello…McFly….

  2. ha!
    think it’s a combo…plus INTIMIDATION. thieves are quick and know what they are doing. they get you off guard.

  3. Ryn, “You’re day…” should be “Your day…” Other than that, your apply the same principals to answering the door that my wife does.

  4. Thanks, Don S., fixed typo/error.

    Your wife is a wise woman.

  5. While I would take your advice about being on my guard, I will continue to open my door and face whatever comes my way. I refuse to be held prisoner in my own home! Instead of not answering the door try looking through the peep hole or a handy window to find out who is at your door BEFORE opening it!!! I don’t want to EVER be so cynical as to shut out the world for fear of robbery or scam artisits.

  6. Re: wailing babies – So, Rynski…Do you have any kids? (That you know of)

  7. hahahhahah!

    No kids that I know of – but hands full with two rats and two dogs (the dogs do their fair share of wailing, for sure!)

    And Paul – Good for you!!! Glad you face the world head-on. I do look through the peep hole but, as in the case of the alarm guy, the peep hole makes people look all twisted and unrecognizable and everyone ends up looking like my next door neighbor.

  8. people at the door are usually nosy neighbors

    This attitude is a big part of the problem. We have become isolated from our local communities and consequently people don’t know who belongs at the house across the street and who doesn’t. If that fake mover breaks in when you’re not home and your neighbor knows you and knows that you’re not moving, then they can call the police.

    1. that’s an excellent point.

      1. I just moved into a new neighborhood and have made it a point to meet my immediate neighbors, especially the elderly ones who are home all day. It hasn’t cost me much time and when combined with the dog I own is just as good as a security system.

        1. very smart. and neighborly of you. maybe i’ll give it a whirl one day. thanks.

  9. A secretary I know said her doorbell rang at 4 in the morning once (her husband was at work). She was home alone with her young son (who has a disability) and the person at the door actually hid from her so he was not visible from the peephole. She looked through a side window and he was on his knees right in front of the door, obviously hoping she’d open the door after not seeing anyone. She called 911 but by the time the police arrived he’s skipped town. That changed my perspective forever. A peep hole peep is not enough sometimes. I err on the side of caution because it is not only my life at stake.

    1. NKR-Anybody who opens the door to a stranger is inviting danger! (OMG that rhymes…not intentional) Gone are the days of unlocked doors and casual conversation with a stranger. In my experience ‘stranger’ is too often appropriate. Anybody got any any thoughts on why that is…cutbacks on the asylum budget?

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