Sheriff Tom Grills reports, "The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office has received a report of a female in her early 20s going to a residence in the Milan area, saying she was 'doing research for the county.' The female asked for the mother of the residence, stating she was an intern with the county and doing research on kids that were in school. She was carrying a notepad, but had no other identification on her or her vehicle. The vehicle, which was a dark-colored passenger car, appeared to have Texas plates."
The sheriff questioned county officials and Milan school authorities, and was told this activity has not been authorized.
Midday Thursday, Grills says sheriff’s deputies, after receiving multiple tips from citizens, have confirmed the identity of the female going to residences as legitimate activity.
The female Texan is in the area offering for sale educational literature through http://southwesternadvantage.com, said Grills.
He wants to thank the public for such a great response, but advises, “…the business pursuit cannot be confirmed as a legitimate business transaction, but it can be confirmed she is a door-to-door salesperson. At this time, Ripley County does not have an ordinance regulating this activity, although I tried years ago to have the commissioners enact one. It has also been confirmed this individual was denied a permit in the city of Greensburg to operate, according to the Greensburg Police Department.”
The sheriff also urges residents to be cautious of this type of activity:
Do not let salespeople inside your home unless you are 100 percent sure of their authenticity.
Do not give out personal information to unknown subjects, either in person or over the phone.
Try to verify the representation of the business and the associate through the Internet.
Grills advises, "With the advancement of smartphones, social media, Web searches, blogs, blotters and/ or other social media outlets, quick verification avenues of legitimacy are at your fingertips.”
When in doubt, do not answer the door, and call a local law enforcement agency for potential verification.
He concludes, “Even though there are a lot of legitimate businesses doing this type of advertising and sales, we all have to remain vigilant in combating fraud and theft. Together we make our communities safer. I want to thank everyone for their support, and to keep up the good work!”
Persons with information involving this type of activity are urged to contact the RCSO at 812-689-5558 or a local law enforcement agency.