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Language Learning Scam?
updated: Feb 03, 2014, 2:49 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

A clean cut looking man knocked on my door last week and said he was a Jehovah's Witness looking for Portuguese speaking people. I told him that seemed odd and asked him why. He claimed they were looking for people to help teach traditional Portuguese, not Brazilian Portuguese. Sounded very strange to me. Has this happened to anyone else? Any member of the Jehovah's Witnesses who may be able to confirm the church is doing this?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 491860 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 03:06 PM

Legit or not that seems like the least efficient method of locating Portuguese speakers imaginable.

Sounds like a reason invented on the spot when knocking on doors looking for an empty house


 COMMENT 491864 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 03:14 PM

My last name is a Portuguese name. I occasionally get calls from people looking for Portuguese speakers (they look through the section of the phone book with popular Portuguese last names). I would imagine it's legit unless he has some reason to believe that people who speak Portuguese are particularly more gullible than the general population.


 COMMENT 491867 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 03:29 PM

So I had someone come and knock on my door 2 weeks ago in the middle of afternoon on a weekend asking if anyone in the home spoke French. Clean cut and tall guy and also a nicely dressed woman who did not say anything. Simply asked, "Do you, or anyone who lives here speak fluent French?" I told him no. He then asked if I knew anyone in the area who spoke French. I live on the eastside, so nobody came to mind. They simply said "Thank you", and left.

Anyone know the deal with this?


 COMMENT 491870 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 03:33 PM

Just tell him "VĂ¡ embora, cara!"


 COMMENT 491872 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 03:40 PM

I had Jehovah's witnesses come to my door asking if we had any Spanish speakers in the house or knew any in the neighborhood, this was about a year ago though in the SB Shores neighborhood.


 COMMENT 491879 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:19 PM

Maybe this door to door JH visitor is searching for Portuguese converts. Respond to him in that language or something similar that you make up and see what happens next......


 COMMENT 491884 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:32 PM

I would call 911 and report it, no hesitation


 COMMENT 491886 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:36 PM

Porch geese!


 MISTA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 05:24 PM

I would have told him he's insane and to try knocking on doors in Bakersfield or Yerington, NV. if he was serious


 COMMENT 491895 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 05:26 PM

Very likely they are trying to determine if you are home or not.


 COMMENT 491917 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 06:44 PM

Did he have a friend in Templeton?


 COMMENT 491930 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 07:30 PM

Scam. Take his picture and call the police.


 COMMENT 491934 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 07:37 PM

Don't answer the door unless you know the person. Soliciting should be discouraged or even illegal since it's either religious nuts, people trying to sell you stuff or thieves.


 COMMENT 491941 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 08:28 PM

Sounds like just a random thing to say when someone answered the door. Had you not been home - you might've been robbed. Casing out the neighborhood is what they were doing.


 COMMENT 491960P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 12:41 AM

Okay. I can't help myself. I wrote this once before on Edhat, but for those of you who missed it:

Many years ago, a friend and I were traveling through Australia. We had a nice 4-wheel-drive LandRover truck, fully outfitted. Making our way from east to west, we had come to the southern part of Western Australia.

We drove the back way into a huge national park. (I write "back way," because most people approached this park from the more populous areas/towns of Albany and Perth).

We drove for miles (kilometers), and couldn't find any information kiosk or any info on the trails within the park. We did find a small map which showed the location of the Ranger's house, situated in the middle of this vast park.

Map in hand, we drove to see the Ranger, bouncing along on corrugated dirt roads (so called because the bumps are like corduroy), for about three hours. We drove and drove and drove. We saw no other people.

When we finally made it to the Ranger's gate, what we found was a small hand-painted sign, crudely done, hanging from the closed and locked gate. When we got close enough to read the sign, this is what it said: "No Jehovah's Witnesses."

We never did find the Ranger or any trail maps, but we sure enjoyed that sign.


 COMMENT 491964P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 03:46 AM

LOL - great story. Great writing.


 COMMENT 491997 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 08:59 AM

Our no soliciting sign says " No Soliciting - unless you are selling thin mints."


 COMMENT 492002 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 09:07 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I definitely exercised very poor judgement opening the door, especially without checking the peephole first. Won't be so careless again. I agree that this guy was probably casing the neigborhood. The whole scenario is just to weird to be true.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 09:40 AM

960P, Thanks for a great story, thoroughly enjoyed it. Those JWs drive me nuts; often when I'd be writing on deadline, had to stop, go to the door, and there they were. Chased them away but I was out of my groove and had to spend time getting back into it. So mad I wanted to chew nails.


 COMMENT 492047 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 10:39 AM

Someone checking to see whether anyone was home would have a plausible explanation in hand ... they wouldn't make up something on the spot. Thus there is no logical, rational, factual basis for concluding that this fellow was casing the joint.


 COMMENT 492063 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 11:14 AM

A couple weeks I also had a lady come to my door and ask if anyone me or anyone I knew spoke French. I also thought it very odd.


 COMMENT 492083 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 12:00 PM

So a bunch of people have reported that strangers have come to their door and asked if they spoke X language, and not one of them asked that person "Why?" ?


 COMMENT 492087 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 12:19 PM

I used to hide from the Witnesses, but now just tell them I attend my church.


 COMMENT 492092 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 12:27 PM

2083- I did ask them why. The guy said their members wanted to learn traditional portuguese and that although some spoke Brazilian Portuguese it was too different. He had no further explanation, even after I said it was a very odd thing to look for door to door. He just said he would take me off their list and left.


 COMMENT 492107 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 12:53 PM

Yes, we had Jehovah witnesses coming by asking if anyone spoke french, my husband answered in a totally different language.


 COMMENT 492154 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-04 02:13 PM

They probably look at bumper stickers and the identifying like to judge what language, but WHATEVER YOU DO .... DO NOT GIVE MONEY, you'll NEVER get rid of them, they'll call on your doorstep regularly even if you ask them to never come again. They have compliments and will steal your time away and your time is precious, some I've seen actually get a bit agressive, i.e., 2 guys trying to force their views on someone in the laundrymat, looked like a possible fight there was so much yelling, i called police. In LA you see signs, "We shoot every third jehovah's witness and the second one just left!" They definitely don't ignore that sign!
Lots of porgugese also speak french, connect the dots.


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