Peel – Investigators from the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau would like to alert members of the public to a popular scam involving the sale of chocolate bars at local malls and plazas.
Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau officers are warning anyone who is approached to purchase chocolate bars by young children, that they may be victimized by fraudulent practices. Fraudsters are ‘hiring’ young children to stand outside of local malls and plazas to sell chocolate bars.
The fraudsters will often provide the children with pamphlets from the charity’s website to show the consumer that their charity is legitimate. The children are told that the proceeds of the sales of these chocolates are donated to various charities. Fraudsters are using the innocent look and age of the children they hire to solicit sales of the chocolate bars. The victim, under the misguided belief that the funds are going to charity, feel compelled to purchase the chocolate bars and the fraudster pockets the money.
What can you do?
If you are a customer at a plaza or mall where these chocolate bars are being sold, you need to be wary of who will be profiting from your purchase. Your small purchase could be supporting a larger criminal entity.
If you are a parent of a child who has been hired to sell chocolate bars, you need to ask questions of the supervisor to determine what charity your child is representing.
Anyone can research the legitimacy and status of a charitable organization by going to the Canada Revenue Agency website and type in the charity name. It will provide the charity registration number, and the charity status and its effective date.
Everyone is a potential target in this scam. Investigators believe that there may be other individuals who have been victimized by this type of scam. Anyone who has information on these frauds, and/or the individuals connected to them, is also urged to contact the Fraud Bureau at 905-453-2121. Ext 3335.
Information can also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222 TIPS (8477), or by visiting their website at www.peelcrimestoppers.ca