Door-to-door soliciting scams

Door-to-Door Soliciting

Bogus charitable solicitations and "almost too good to be true" deals are still common. Unless you specifically entered a contest, always ignore phone calls, letters and e-mails telling you that you’ve won money or a prize from a charity. These are almost always fraudulent.

Scams are worked door-to-door, online and on the phone. Be wary. Scam artists create fake charity or business names that are similar to legitimate ones, which allow one to think that the solicitation is valid.

It's safest to make donations by mail with a check, or online with a credit card to a verified mailing address or established and secure website. Always double-check the exact addresses.

If you do contribute to someone at your door, do not give cash. Make a check or money order out to the name of the charitable organization, and make sure you get a receipt with the charity name on it. To help ensure your contribution is tax deductible, the donation should be made to a U.S.-based charitable organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

If a solicitor comes to your door...

  • Look to see who is on the other side before opening your door.
  • If you are unsure if the organization is legitimate, ask to see their identification and call the organization to verify their employment. Keep your door closed and locked while you do this. Do not let anyone inside.
  • Ask to see their permit from the City of Lakewood. Solicitors must obtain a permit from the City of Lakewood to be able to go door to door and are required to present it upon request. If they can't provide it, call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-635-3500. Los Angeles County licenses are not valid in Lakewood.
  • Most tax exempt organizations can be verified online at the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance at or by calling 703-276-0100.
  • Once you've determined that the charity is legitimate and you've decided you want to contribute, simply give what you can and want to give -- it will be appreciated. Don't give in to pressure about 'suggested donations' or 'requested minimum contributions.' There is no rush to donate. Handing a check to a stranger gives them a lot of personal information. Again, the best ways to donate are by phoning the group, finding its official web site, or using regular mail.