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Contact 6: Individuals going door-to-door in Milw. area asking for money

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6's Contact 6 is issuing a warning about a company claiming to help inner-city youth. They are going door-to-door in the Milwaukee area, with a sad story to make a sale.

Polly Blommel was just trying to help, when a young man came to her Shorewood home last month.

"He said I'm out here soliciting for my future.  For college," Blommel said.

The man asked her to buy some products like plant stands and baskets, and said he was part of a mentoring program called "Dreamers of America" -- selling items to prove responsibility and try to erase a shady past.

"He had this whole binder of things that he was selling and told me all about this point system and the cost of all these things and that I would be able to help him.  He's got to raise 50,000 points," Blommel said.

Blommel bought $350 worth of products, as did "Dave," who did not want to provide his last name.

"We looked at it. It looked pretty official, had contacts, had receipts and all of that.  His story seemed plausible," Dave said.

Dave spent a little more than $100 on a chair, but this time, the receipt listed the company's name as "Against All Odds."

Months later, neither Dave nor Blommel had received any items, and cannot reach anyone with either company -- which turns out to be the same company.

"It's a shame because it gives that type of cause a bad name," Dave said.

The so-called company has an elaborate website. On its website, the company is called "Entrepreneurs of America." The website includes a photo of the company's CEO, Andre R. Smith.

Both Blommel and Dave think it's possible Smith is the person who came to their door.

The company has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and numerous complaints with the BBB and Consumer Protection -- each complaint explaining the same sob story sales pitch, and each person complaining they haven't received their items.

FOX6's Contact 6 emailed, called and even visited the listed address. At the address, a woman said she used to know Smith. She wouldn't talk on camera, but said there is no business at the location and said she is upset Smith listed her address.

Meanwhile, Dave and Blommel feel duped.

"I'm always the person who wants to help other people, and unfortunately I have definitely learned my lesson," Blommel said.

Blommel paid with a credit card and stopped the charge, but Dave gave the guy a check, so his money is gone.

FOX6's Contact 6 advises if someone comes to your door, make sure they represent a reputable, recognizable company or charity before buying anything on the spot. Ask them to come back after you've had a chance to research the company. If they're legitimate, they will come back.

On Wednesday, March 6th, Habitat for Humanity sent out a warning about "Dreamers of America." The organization says people have been going door-to-door in Pewaukee, Wauwatosa and Fox Point, claiming they are raising funds for Habitat.

If you are contacted by "Dreamers of America," you should contact police.

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