Police officials warned residents about a man who apparently is going around town, pretending to be working with authorities and asking for children's information.
By Thursday afternoon, Ripon police investigators had determined several people were going around Ripon and its surrounding area responding to information collected from an online survey connected to an offer of free child safety kits in a Facebook advertisement.
One incident occurred about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, when a man approached a Ripon resident. The man identified himself as "Marcel" and claimed to be working with a "Child Safety Program" in partnership with the Ripon police and Ripon fire officials.
The man was not working with local authorities and was trying to gather information for unknown purposes, according to a news release from the Ripon Police Department.
Police officials said the man asked for information about the resident’s children, including ages and names, while writing notes in a notebook.
The man was last seen driving a green Ford Explorer with black dealer license plates. The vehicle's driver’s-side brake light was not working.
Several people commented on the department's Facebook post, saying they had received phone calls and visits from a man purporting to be delivering child safety kits.
Ripon police later learned that area residents filled out an online survey to receive the free child safety kits. The information collected from the online survey was then given to subcontractors, like the man seen on Wednesday.
"The subcontractors then call or come to your residence in attempts to set up an appointment with you and your family," Ripon police officials said Thursday afternoon. "At this appointment, they then try and sell their product."
Vendors and sales people who make door-to-door visits must have a City of Ripon business license and a photo identification card from the city with them.
Police officials urged residents to be careful with what information they fill out online. The Ripon Police Department has a similar program that offers child safety kits at the department's National Night Out event each August.