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Friday, December 5, 2014

Cop Busts Fake Magazine Solicitor Mid-Sale

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 7:34 AM

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A Richmond District resident wrote to the police earlier this week to thank officers after his night almost took a turn for the worst.

Moments before the city dweller had been scammed into purchasing magazines from a "former gang member" who was apparently trying to turn his life around — through magazine sales, of course — a police officer brought the scheme to light, literally.

"One of the officers in the neighborhood happen to see the exchange and right at that moment, he approached the house, turned his flashlight directly on the solicitor and started questioning him," the resident wrote in an email to police. "He let him know that there were multiple complaints in the neighborhood, that under no circumstances was it okay to sell door-to-door at night."

The resident receded back into the safety of the house while San Francisco Police Officer Ryan Mariano attempted to identify the man, who became confrontational, according to the resident's account of the incident. "I took this opportunity to go back inside," the resident wrote.

Apparently, the man had attempted to sell (overpriced) subscriptions with materials from a company called PS Circulation. A quick Google search of the business yields the Better Business Bureau's less-than stellar review of it, with 186 complaints filed against it.

“PS Circulation” is a major scam situation and some people have reported these nice “salesmen/women” getting aggressive immediately if they are turned down," the resident wrote after doing light research of his own. "A lot of folks have reported concern that their house was being “cased” for potential future burglary."

The solicitor's method of scam involved an attempt to earn "points" from his sale of subscriptions, which he said would turn into money and therefore lift him up in the world. The man's persistence and polite banter are what convinced the resident to pull out his checkbook and offer funds, he wrote to officers.

If you think you might have been a victim of a similar scam or have information regarding the schemes, contact the SFPD Richmond Station at 415 553-0123. Anonymous tips can be left at 415 575-4444.

"The Inner Richmond is generally so safe that I forget to be on my guard," the almost-victim wrote. "Thanks for being an awesome police officer and saving a well-intentioned citizen from making a dumb mistake."


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