Magazine salespeople scam residents with fake fundraiser

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | 4:57 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Door-to-door magazine salespeople, claiming to be working for the Ronald McDonald House, have been misleading residents.

“We’ve received several calls from donors telling us that individuals are selling magazine subscriptions at their door, claiming the proceeds will be donated to the local Ronald McDonald House," said Shannon de Leon, director of the Ronald McDonald House. "This is not true.”

De Leon said one donor had his credit card charged incorrectly, and one woman canceled a check after she learned of the misrepresentation. She also said the police have been notified.

The Columbia Police Department had no crimes listed in relation to the Ronald McDonald House but urged residents to use caution when donating money to any organization.

The Ronald McDonald House does not do door-to-door fundraising. When an individual or organization approaches the house to hold a fundraiser, there is an application and documentation process that is kept on file, de Leon said. The fundraisers are only held at local establishments after they’ve been given permission from managers or owners.

“We want our community members to be aware of these possible fraudulent sales pitches," de Leon said. "The Ronald McDonald House takes great care with each donation that is entrusted to us. We do not want even one donor’s kindness to be taken advantage of.”

Ronald McDonald House serves as a home for families of hospitalized children.

De Leon urges potential donors to contact the Ronald McDonald House with any questions or concerns about fundraising activities at 443-7666.

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