Scammers using Ridge hospital as guise

Canvassing door to door with computer tablet, police warn.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are warning the public about a door-to-door scam concerning the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation.

“Police have received a number of complaints about a male and a female who have gone door-to-door seeking donations for the Ridge Meadows Hospital cancer ward,” said RCMP Cpl. Alanna Dunlop.

“The canvassers are not accepting cash donations, but produce either a computer tablet or a hand held information gathering device. They encourage people to sign up for a personal donation on these devices.

“Once the suspects get this information, it is unknown at this time what they are going to do with it, but the info could very well lead to incidents of identity theft.”

Laura Cherrille, the executive director of the hospital foundation, said her group is not presently running a fundraiser, and never goes door-to-door canvassing.

She received her first call about the bogus fundraisers on Saturday night, and said she has been “bombarded” since then, including four more complaints on Wednesday morning.

Cherrille said a group of people appears to be working the scam. She has heard of

an Asian man who appears to be in his 20s, a well-groomed woman in her 50s, and at least one other man. One of them reportedly wears a vest with a hospital foundation logo on it.

Cherrille said one victim reported a woman came to her door on Saturday around dinner time, saying she was collecting pledges on behalf of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation for an MRI machine. She did not want cash, but insisted the person sign up for a donation on her tablet.

The citizen refused to make a donation.

On Monday, again around dinner time, a man came to the door asking for a donation of $20 for the hospital foundation. This homeowner also refused to donate any cash.

Cherrille urges anyone who has “signed up” for a bogus donation on a tablet to immediately contact their financial institution.

“I worry that people actually believe them,” Cherrille said. “Most charities do not go door-to-door anymore, and the hospital foundation has never done that.”

The hospital foundation raised $230,000 through its gala event, about $40,000 through the Fund Run, and conducts a direct mail campaign four times a year. The money raised buys equipment and financially supports Ridge Meadows Hospital capital initiatives.

“Police want citizens to always be wary of door-to-door canvassers,” said Dunlop. “If people want to donate to a charity, donate through a secure website or through a legitimate contact number. It is not advisable to give out cash or any credit card or debit card information to door-to-door solicitors.”

• Anyone who has encountered these canvassers is asked to contact Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604 463-6251, and to note the person’s description, and details of what they are asking for.