Crime Prevention

July 11th, 2013
Comments Off on Rumors of Child Abduction Ring Involving Foreign Students

Rumors of Child Abduction Ring Involving Foreign Students

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Written by: Lt. David Lash

Over the past few days the Northern York County Regional Police Department and the York Area Regional Police Department have received inquiries regarding a rumor being spread on Facebook concerning a possible child abduction ring working in the area.  The rumor concentrates on a group of foreign students who are selling educational materials.

The two regional police departments are working with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations to determine the legitimacy of these rumors.  The Departments have found no evidence to support the rumors that these individuals are involved in any type of scheme to abduct or harm children.

The subjects involved are all legally in this country from Eastern Europe and are self employed representatives of Southwestern Advantage Publishing Group. They do have foreign accents, but are fairly fluent in English.  All are students at universities in Eastern Europe. Southwestern Advantage Publishing Group is a 150 year old company based in Nashville, TN.  According to the Better Business Bureau;

Southwestern Advantage is a direct seller and publisher of educational and reference products including books, CD-ROMs and a subscription-based website. Southwestern is America’s oldest direct selling company, established in 1855 in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 1868, Southwestern has helped college students run their own business to offset their educational expenses. Students from over 300 colleges and universities in North and South America and Europe participate, many earning college credit hours as an internship opportunity.

Between 2,500 and 3,000 students participate in marketing and selling books and software each summer. The student representatives have over 4 million personal interactions with families and customers each summer all over the United States and Canada.”

The Better Business Bureau has Southwestern Advantage listed as an “A+” business.

A group of these subjects recently presented themselves to the Northern York County Regional Police Department and applied for soliciting permits.  The group all had proper identification and credentials that allowed them to be in this country legally.  The Southwestern Advantage website, listed these four individuals as certified dealers of their products.

The group was issued soliciting permits for Dover and ManchesterTownships.

When dealing with door to door salespeople, keep these tips in mind;

1. Never let anyone into your home.  You have every right to tell someone that they are not allowed to come in. If you are interested in what they person is pitching, be sure to ask them for their credentials.  A permit is required to make sales door-to-door and you also have every right to check up on their permit with the entity that issued it.

2. DO NOT GIVE IN TO HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS: Never be afraid to say “NO!” If a salesperson in your home tries to pressure you into buying their product, terminate your conversation with them. Take the time to contact the company directly if you still have interest in the product or service. Avoid making an immediate purchase in order to receive a “free gift.” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office can be great resources to determine if the product or company is legitimate.  If the salesperson makes you uncomfortable or continues to pressure after you say no, call 911 and an Officer will come out and deal with the situation.

3. If a salesperson can’t provide a valid street address (not a PO Box) and working phone number for a company, you may want to reconsider doing business with them. You need to be able to get in touch with the company if there are problems later.


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