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Are you interested in purchasing a magazine subscription? Are you willing to write a check to a door-to-door salesman on the spot? If so, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is asking you to use caution before making a payment.

The sheriff’s office occasionally receives reports of groups of people, most often young men, canvassing neighborhoods and offering magazine subscriptions to residents they encounter outside or by knocking on doors. Sometimes the sales pitch includes information about a charity or other cause that supposedly benefits from the proceeds from the magazine sales.

Based on information provided by witnesses, police believe that in some cases, the salespeople likely represent illegitimate businesses conducting a scam.

The sheriff’s office offered some tips to protect county residents.

•Ask to see a peddler’s permit issued by the Charles County government. If they cannot provide one, they are operating illegally.

•Ask for contact information and time to make a decision. Consider it suspicious behavior if the salesperson cannot provide contact information and demands an immediate sale.

•If the salesperson grants additional time to make a decision, use the time to research the company’s background. Go to the Better Business Bureau’s website, www.bbb.org, and read complaints or other feedback.

•If you decide to purchase a subscription or other products or services from a door-to-door salesperson, never make your check payable to a person. Instead, make your check payable to the company conducting the sale and always specify in the memo section of your check what product or service you are purchasing.

Finally, the sheriff’s office suggests that citizens always use caution before answering the door for strangers and advises anyone who observes or encounters a suspicious person to call 301-932-2222.