A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Possible magazine solicitation scam in Phinney

May 6th, 2012 · Comments

Willene tells us she believes she fell for a magazine solicitation scam Saturday evening.

We were just visited by a man and teen selling magazine subscriptions through a company called Urban 1.

They told us the story of trying to train teens to work hard and be responsible rather than just ask for hand-outs. We fell for it. 30 minutes later we had written a check for $105 for Sports Illustrated magazine subscription to be donated to the Veterans hospital.

The teen was going to be given 50% of the funds and Urban 1 was helping her to get her GED. etc. Of course after they left, we started to think about the details, went online, and of course Urban 1 is a known scam.

Thought we should put the word out. It’s very sad….the scam reports said that Urban 1 picks up these teens out of the shelters and actually promises them all kinds of support. The teens are being scammed too. We live near 60th and 2nd Avenue…..so that was the neighborhood they were visiting today.

A quick Internet search turned up a St. Louis-based magazine sales company called Urban 1, along with numerous complaints about the company. Did anyone else see these folks?

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  1. Jason says:

    Yes. A young woman was canvassing on 78th about 2 weeks ago running the same scam. I called the non emergency police line to report it.

  2. Robert McBride says:

    I live at N 83rd and Linden and was approached by two young men yesterday with a similar pitch. The first young man said he was from Spanish Harlem in NYC yet I detected not a trace of an accent. At first he said he wasn’t selling anything. When I asked him what he was pitching he then said he was selling magazines. When I said I wasn’t interested in magazines he asked for a donation. When I said I didn’t have any cash he suggested I withdraw money from an ATM. That did it for me. I said good bye. I work in construction and often ask these young men if they would like to work for me. That usually sends them on their way.

  3. A Badger says:

    They were hitting Greenwood Ave between 55th and 60th on Saturday as well. Younger woman and an older man. He was pretty aggressive.

  4. J. Rey says:

    Someone came to my door a few months ago under a similar pretense. He was unusually persistent and the presentation materials were in poor condition – didn’t look like a “real” operation. I sent him on his way, but sounds like there are similar efforts under way again. We live near rub a dub dog.

  5. The Real Whopper says:

    A sucker born every minute…

  6. al says:

    Last year’s scam was a different name, but sounds the same. Overpriced magazines. Hard sell approach. I called 911 last year because I thought the kid who said he was 15 was being exploited. The police cited him and his “handler” who trailed along several houses behind in a blue van for the no-license-to-solicit offense, but they told me the “kid” was actually 19. My wife engaged him while I was on the phone with 911. And he gave her the same line about going to the ATM to get cash.

  7. MM says:

    yeah. a guy was at my house. I live near 51st and 3rd ave. he was nice and respectful, but had a canned speech that wasn’t convincing.

  8. Rob says:

    These folks were on N 83rd two days this week. Most recently yesterday – where “no” wasn’t an answer they took very nicely. Very, very aggressive sales pitch even to folks just walking on the street. They got borderline hostile when told no, not interested.

  9. Mindy Cameron says:

    On April 7 a friend in Ravenna neighborhood reported a woman “selling” mags door to door. A definite scammer. However, a year or two ago, we bought from some door to door guys and it was real. We have decided to not take a chance anymore and have placed a “NO SOLICITORS” notice on our gate.

  10. Paul Kersey says:

    I just ask them if they have Hustler or Juggs and that usually ends the conversation.

  11. Bdubs says:

    I was approached on my front porch near 83rd and Dayton Saturday afternoon.

  12. Fred says:

    The scammers are nearly always black, playing off liberal white guilt. Seems to work.

  13. DJ says:

    One of them rang my door bell a few times the other day. I looked through the peep hole and thought to myself why even answer the door? As he was walking away we made eye contact. Probably because he was staring right into my living room through the window. What a little creep. Probably was trying to case my spot out.

  14. DJ says:

    @13-Kind of agree. I thinks its more like a passive form of racism.

  15. floyd says:

    A friend always buys whatever they are selling, he calls it insurance.

  16. Block Watcher says:

    We’ve had Jehovah’s Witnesses recently.

  17. MonkeyPilot says:

    The scammers have made their way up to 3rd & 92nd this afternoon. They approached me in front of my house this afternoon.

  18. Zoolander says:

    Most of these sellers were themselves scammed and are abused.

    If they come to your door, ask them if they want info on how to get back home.

  19. Greenwooder says:

    A man in his early 20’s stopped by our house near 80th and Greenwood. He claimed to be trying to improve his skills by presenting himself and earning points in a prodomintantly white neighborhood. When I told him I’d be happy to evaluate his presentation to me – he said the way he earn’s points is by selling magazines. After I told him no, he got pretty angry, told me I was rude, and stormed off my porch. If I would have done it all over again, I would have said from the get go, “no solicitors have a good night”.

  20. Mark says:

    Yes, 8:15pm on a Tuesday night, just now 83rd between 6th and 8th. Second time this week. Same young man with a white shirt and black tie. Asking for a hand-out and a handshake. Which equals points to a second chance. No, was easy to send him on his way.

  21. Ballardica says:

    Smithers, release the hounds!

  22. Tally88 says:

    Young man named “Morris” came to my door tonight (35th and 55th). Not rude…maybe b/c i told him i’m from Detroit. I listened to his story and told him i’ll check out the website for the company (“PS Circulations”). Sure enough it sounds like a bad deal all around.

  23. Jessk09 says:

    At 83rd and linden, a man knocked on our door today today with a hard-luck, getting off the streets in NYC story who was earning “credits” to graduate, looking for mentors, learning about success. Ultimate point was magazine sales. Very persistant and seemed annoyed when I said I wasn’t interested.

  24. Shelbey says:

    A young man came to our door today as well at 70th & Linden, around 6:45pm. He gave us the magazine pitch, but we declined and he left promptly. Where can we send complaints/concerns besides this board?