A new scam going door to door

People claiming to be from United Way accessing personal information

Beware of fundraisers with portable terminals; it could be a scam.

Beware of fundraisers with portable terminals; it could be a scam.

By now most people are aware that scam artists lurk everywhere who will try to entice you over the phone and door to door to give up personal information such as credit card numbers.

However, there is a new one out there and it’s associating itself with a well-known charity, the United Way.

While police say it hasn’t happened in Kimberley Cranbrook yet, there are several reports out of Salmon Arm of door to door canvassing under the guise of raising funds for the United Way.

The RCMP says the suspects, who appear well dressed and sincere, offer to sell Tim Horton’s or other gift cards as part of the fund raising.

If the victim agrees to donate or purchase a card, the suspect produces what looks like a hand held point of sales machine (debit credit card machine) for payment. Victims are even issued a receipt for the amount paid. Unbeknownst to the victim, their bank account information is entered into the handheld skimming device, giving the suspect complete access to the victim’s bank account and PIN number.

Several thousand dollars have already been stolen from victims of this scam in the Salmon Arm area alone.

Donna Brady Fields of the Kimberley Cranbrook United Way says that her agency does not do door to door canvassing at all in B.C.

“If someone comes to your door soliciting funds they are not from the United Way,” Brady Fields said.

“We do not do door to door. We have been discussing whether we should do it or not, but if it was going to happen, communities would be told well in advance.”

Police remind people to be vigilant in protecting their private information and to be cautious when dealing with people/agencies they are unfamiliar with. Anyone with information on the suspects in these frauds are asked to contact their local police services or Crimestoppers 1800-222-8477.