It isn’t even November yet, but Remembrance Day poppy scammers are already on the prowl.
That’s according to Jim Howard, administrator of the Vancouver Poppy Fund, who says a new phone scam is making the rounds, trading on the organization’s good name.
Howard said one of the fund’s donors phoned up to say she’d been targeted by the fraudsters.
“She had been contacted by someone on the telephone that told her they were from the ‘Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign,’ asking for a donation on a Visa card or a credit card and getting all the information,” he said.
“Right away my bells went off because we do not solicit that way.”
He said the woman received a second call from scammers thanking her for a ‘pledge,’ but saying they still needed her credit card information.
Howard said he’d heard some similar stories through the grapevine, and that in Alberta fake poppy trays have begun to pop up, according to contacts on his Facebook feed.
He said anyone who wants to donate to the poppy fund should be careful and make sure they’re donating directly.
“The best and safest way is through your local Royal Canadian Legion,” he said.
“You’ll see lots of veterans and the cadets out on the street with the poppy trays. You get the poppy from them, you put the money in the little box, and that way you know the money will get where it’s supposed to go.”
With just two employees and a handful of volunteers, the Vancouver Poppy Fund works to distribute an estimated 400,000 poppies in the Lower Mainland every year.
Howard said the money it raises goes to cover costs and then to take care of veterans whose needs are not covered by health insurance or veterans’ affairs.