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Police warn of 'door scam' reappearing in Renton

Police are warning residents that a common scam is once again making an appearance in the Renton area, particularly in the West Hill area.

According to police, they received a call this week from a woman on Maple Drive who said during the weekend a woman came to her door seeking “safe harbor” from an abusive husband and was pretty aggressive about going into the resident’s house.

The resident told the woman she would call 911 for her, but she could not come in. When the resident mentioned it to another neighbor, the neighbor described a similar female who had come to her residence claiming she “needed money for a prescription for a child.”

“Neither of these are uncommon, unfortunately,” said Terri Vickers, Renton Police public information officer.

Vickers said other popular lines include “Need a couple bucks for gas to go pick up (child at school, sick relative)” and “Need to use the phone because my car broke down.”

According to police, resident should not open their door, even a crack, for someone they don’t know. Vickers said to talk through the door until you can determine it is safe to open it.

But when someone knocks on your door, yell through the door to the person outside, do not ignore it. Many people ignore unexpected knocks on the door, but these knocks can be a ruse by burglars who are trying to determine if someone is home before (going around the back and) breaking into the house. If someone is home, they’re unlikely to attempt to burglarize that residence.

Residents should call 911 when they observe suspicious activity, including someone aggressively trying to come into your home while providing a questionable story.

“It’s very possible that the police are looking for the person, that they’ve pulled this scam before, and that when they can’t get into your house to ‘use the phone’ (or whatever the ruse of the week),” Vickers said. “There’s every chance that your sweet gullible neighbor will let them into her house, where they will steal her prescriptions from the bathroom cabinet when they ‘need to use the bathroom’ after they ‘use the phone.’”

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