UPDATE: Are Door-To-Door Book Salesmen Trying To Steal Children In El Paso And Las Cruces?
If you are on Facebook or Twitter, chances are you got a scary message yesterday about human traffickers who are posing as door-to-door book salesmen to find kids to kidnap. I saw it yesterday on my Facebook news feed, and I have to admit, it scared me. Here's the scoop on that message.
The company named in the message, Southwestern Advantage, is a real company that has permits to sell door-to-door in Las Cruces, but police there say they have not had any crimes attributed to Southwestern Advantage reported to them.
Snopes.com says that stories of "door-to-door salesmen with foreign accents" who are casing homes for kids to sell into human slavery is an urban myth. There are even news reports about Southwestern Advantage from other cities in the U.S. that sound exactly like the one circulating here in the Borderland.
Officials with the Better Business Bureau say that they have had several complaints about Southwestern Advantage filed with them, although the nature of those complaints are not clear.
I Googled the company, and found this article from USA Today that goes into the company pretty in-depth. The gist of the article is that these students work like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef salespeople and buy the books they sell from Southwestern Advantage, then resell them door-to-door.
The article goes on to detail some good, and some bad, experiences of students who have worked for Southwestern Advantage, but the more I research the company, the more I think that these are students who are trying to recoup their investment and make money, and that's why they are sell so aggressively.
If you want to be completely safe, don't open your door to anyone unless you know them. And Google things that you see on Facebook!