RCMP warn about police fundraising scam

  • Feb. 12, 2014 6:05 p.m.

Red Deer RCMP are warning the public to be aware of a telephone scam occurring in Red Deer and across the country, in which scammers call people at home claiming to be raising money for police programs.

In an unsuccessful attempt to scam a Red Deer citizen last week, a caller claimed to be representing the RCMP and other police associations. The telephone scammer was aggressive in his request and asked for $100 or $300, which are common amounts for scammers of this sort to request.

Red Deer City RCMP would like to remind the public that RCMP do not solicit funds for police programs. It is important for people to learn to distinguish between legitimate fundraising calls and scammers.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers the following tips to avoid false charity scams.

Be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings, especially pleas involving current events, and ask for written information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fundraiser will give you information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

Also, ask the solicitor for the registered charitable tax number of the charity. Question any discrepancies. Confirm the charity’s registration information through the Canada Revenue Agency (1-800-267-2384). Check out the charity’s financial information. For many organizations, this information can be found online.

Ask for identification. If the solicitor refuses to tell you or does not have some form of verifiable identification, hang up or close the door and report it to law enforcement officials.

Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you may be dealing with a scam artist.

Also, watch out for similar sounding names. Some phony charities use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations. If you notice a small difference from the name of the charity you intend to deal with, call the organization to check it out.

Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making. If you have any doubts about whether you’ve made a pledge or previously contributed, check your records. Be on the alert for invoices claiming you’ve made a pledge. Some unscrupulous solicitors use this approach to get your money.

Refuse high pressure appeals. Legitimate fund-raisers won’t push you to give on the spot.

Finally, if you think you or someone you know has been a victim of a telephone scam or any other type of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.

If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or report it online at www.tipsubmit.com.

-Weber

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