Phony Fundraising Scams (Betty Sexton)

Crooks have a calendar, too. They see the school buses and know kids are back in class. So beware of young people being used to raise money for so-called school trips.

We tried to focus in on one group which made its way through southern Colorado last Fall, but they skipped town before we could find them. They're apparently being paid a pittance to scam you.

Here's how it works. You get a knock at your door and you're given a flyer about a fundraiser. These door-to-door callers say they're students who need your donations. Some sell items like candy, candles, toys, even magazine subscriptions. If you give them money, you may later have problems.

We've heard from folks who never got their magazines... or those whose gifts fell apart because the quality of the merchandise was subpar. But by then... the young people are long gone.

I want to thank Jean who told me about the latest scam. A young boy asked her to donate to his senior class by giving him her old aluminum cans and old car batteries for recycling. She was given a note which explained the senior class was only comprised of five students. She didn't buy it.

Also strange, no school name or location was given... just a phone number, 210-4145 and an email,

I called and I emailed, but have not heard from the group. It claims the seniors are going on a class trip to New York City, Washington, DC, and Orlando... yeah right! The note is signed by the five members: Jared, Jessika, Jamie, Sue, and Mary.

If you get such a visit... let me know right away by calling our newsroom at (719) 578-0000. I'd like to find these kids, talk to them and get the whole story. We're told some are runaways.  Others are young people down on their luck. We'd like to expose those who are taking advantage of them.

The sad thing is... a visit likes this makes you suspicious of others who knock on your door. No one wants to discourage young entrepreneurs or your neighbors... but don't be scammed. Don't be afraid to ask students what school they're attending. That way you can check with the school if you're suspicious.

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