Scam going door-to-door using United Way’s name

Perpetrators scam citizens in Vernon and Shuswap, claiming to be with United Way

The United Way is alerting people of a scam targeting its organization.

United Way of North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap executive director Linda Yule issued a release Wednesday, stating it has come to the United Way’s attention that perpetrators have scammed citizens in Vernon and the Shuswap by going door-to-door asking for donations to the United Way.

“The funds are being collected using hand-held debit machines, and donors are sometimes being offered Tim Hortons gift cards as a reward for donating,” said Yule, who is adamant this is not how the United Way canvasses for funds.

“United Way, in our region,” does not canvass door-to-door,” she said. “As well, we do not offer rewards to donors and do not use hand-held card readers.”

The individuals who are canvassing appear clean-cut and presentable. They were in the Shuswap area last weekend and in Vernon Tuesday, according to Yule.

“The debit information gathered door-to-door was used to extract additional unapproved funds from donors’ accounts,” she said.

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Cpl. Gerry Kovacs said most legitimate charities set up for online donations to protect donations and personal contact information.

“Most charities do not use hand-held card readers,” said Kovacs, who advised residents not to give out any information to somebody coming to their door.

“If it happens, contact the charity right away to see if they are, in fact, canvassing that way and in that particular area at that time,” he said. “Or, if you’re still unsure, call the police.”

If possible, get a good description of the individuals and contact the RCMP immediately. If you have been victimized please contact your bank to report the transactions and contact your local RCMP at one of the non-emergency numbers.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

United Way is a trusted charity that has been in the community for 51 years where local donations support 28 charities delivering 35 programs supporting kids, youth, families and seniors.