Sudbury.com has reported on telephone scammers targeting seniors by pretending to be their grandchildren, others posing as Sudbury Hydro workers and still others as Nigerian princes.
Now, telephone scammers are apparently calling Greater Sudbury residents pretending to represent Maison McCulloch Hospice (formerly Maison Vale Hospice).
Seriously, the hospice has reported to Sudbury.com that there are people phoning Nickel City residents pretending to represent a facility that provides services to dying people and their families, and trying to scam money out of them.
So, to be clear, if you get a call from someone who says they’re seeking donations for Maison McCulloch Hospice, they’re not — they’re trying to rip you off. Don’t fall for it.
Maison McCulloch says not only is not running any raffles or fundraising campaigns at the moment, it never cold calls people seeking donations.
If you’ve received such a call, phone the Greater Sudbury Police at 705-675-9171 and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you've been a victim, call the GSPS.
Tips to avoid being scammed
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has provided a list of the following checklist of precautions to help you avoid being scammed by someone purporting to represent a charity.
- Be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings, especially pleas involving current events.
- 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.
- 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 or 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.
- 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 have made a pledge or previously contributed to a charity, check your records. Be on the alert for invoices claiming you have made a pledge. Some dishonest solicitors use this approach to get your money.
- Refuse high pressure appeals. Legitimate fund-raisers will not push you to make a donation on the spot.
- Be wary of charities offering to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your donation immediately.
- Be wary of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. According to law, you never have to donate anything to be eligible to win.
- Avoid cash gifts. Cash can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it is best to pay by cheque.
- To file a police complaint, contact your local police service. To ensure that your complaint information is shared with other law enforcement agencies, also file a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501.