RCMP warns public of scams

The United Way alerted the public and police last week that individuals were going door-to-door

Door-to-door, the Internet, fax machines, you name it, says Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

It’s that time of the year when scams of all types are making the rounds.

“The public really needs to be aware that individuals are trying very hard to get your money using a number of different forms,” said Molendyk.

The United Way alerted the public and police last week that individuals were going door-to-door using a hand-held debit machine to solicit donations, then used the machine to extract more money from bank accounts.

The United Way emphatically stated it does not canvass door-to-door soliciting funds.

“Sometimes scammers use reputable companies such as the United Way or Unicef,” said Molendyk. “These people who do scams, especially door-to-door, are really good. They’ll talk you out of your money.”

The RCMP’s Kelowna-based Southeast District office issued a release Tuesday stating a Vernon resident was recently solicited by a woman caller on the phone seeking donations via credit card for the Cops For Kids charity.

In that case, the woman claimed to be having troubles with her computer and handed off the call to her “boss,” a man, who was attempting to complete the deal. He advised the transaction would not appear on her credit card statement as Cops For Kids, and that’s when the victim became suspicious.

The RCMP does not participate in cold calls in raising funds for its charitable Cops For Kids foundation.

Molendyk said there are a couple of things to keep in mind if someone comes to the door or  uses the phone to solicit donations.

“Check with family or relatives to get their opinion,” he said. “You don’t have to give money right away. You can tell the person at the door that you’ll mail the money directly to the charity. Do your homework.”

The hand-held debit machine was created to allow professional businesses to easily conduct transactions outside of the business.

However, individuals can make a living figuring out how to use technology to scam people.

“We’re in a plastic age now, a lot of people don’t go to banks anymore, they do their banking online,” said Molendyk.

“There are those individuals who use this product for the wrong purposes to collect your data.

“It’s a small number of people doing it but it hurts reputable organizations who go out and fundraise.”