Deputies are searching for at least one suspect who is forcing elderly victims to purchase food items, they say.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the fake salesman knocks on the front doors of homes belonging to older residents, and then walk in when they open the door.
It's unclear which neighborhoods are being targeted.
Once inside, the suspect tries to sell different food products, like meat or fish, deputies say.
If the victim declines the offer, the suspect still stocks their freezer with the products and demands money.
"When the elderly residents say I don’t want to buy this product or I can’t afford this they proceed to fill up the freezer with the product and demand the money,” said Hernando County Sheriff’s spokesperson Denise Moloney. “A lot of times that frightens them and they feel compelled to pay for it."
They are advising people against opening doors to any salesman who they do not personally know.
“Our advice is don’t answer the door if you don’t know who is there and if you think they're selling something and it doesn’t look right call us and let us check it out,” Moloney said.
Anyone who receives a knock at their door by someone from this group is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 352-754-6830. If anyone can observe from inside their home what type of vehicle the suspect or suspects may be operating, such as the make, model and color, as well as their direction of travel, they also ask to provide that. Detectives say they do not want residents to exit their home to obtain the information.