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Vacuum Repair Scam Targets Elderly

Tue., June 10, 1997

Spokane-area residents should be wary of a possible vacuum cleaner repair scam targeting the elderly, sheriff’s deputies said.

So far, two people have complained to authorities that a man in his 50s came to their doors, performed unnecessary work on their vacuum and demanded money for the repairs.

Investigators have not determined if the man is running a scam or is a very aggressive repairman, said Deputy David Reagan, Sheriff’s Department spokesman. Neither of the people who complained to officials about the man had called for a repairman, Reagan said.

An 82-year-old Valley woman told deputies she was approached by a man Saturday morning while she worked in her backyard garden. She felt uncomfortable and went inside her house, and the man followed.

He then asked to see her vacuum, fiddled with it and demanded payment for the repair. The woman gave him $12, but the man said it wasn’t enough and she wrote him a check for $180.

Later that evening, an 80-year-old North Side man reported that a man in his early 50s performed similar work on his vacuum.

The man, described as 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds with gray hair, fussed with the victim’s vacuum for a few minutes and demanded $73 for the work. The victim said it didn’t appear the man had done any work and argued him down to $20.

Reagan encouraged residents to deny door-to-door repair or sales people access to their home. Residents who want to talk to the solicitors should step onto the porch and close the door behind them, he said.

, DataTimes

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