November 6, 2013 10:31 pm
Updated: November 7, 2013 8:10 am

Charity scam hits shoppers


WINNIPEG — There’s a new scam hitting busy shopping malls and grocery stores.

Three women approach shoppers and ask for donations for the Children’s Joy Foundation in the Philippines, a legitimate charity, but the scam artists are not affiliated with it.

“They basically said, ‘We’re helping out our people,’ ” said Khel De Castro, who was approached by a woman inside a Safeway on Tuesday.

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De Castro didn’t have a good feeling about it and didn’t give any money. After a quick search online, he realized he almost got scammed.

“To my surprise a lot of people were having the same experience, outside Walmarts, Safeways, Costcos,” said De Castro.

Similar stories have come out of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“I received lots of calls about this group collecting money in the parking lot of different malls,” said Lito Taruc, president of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba.

After getting a call from someone who was approached, he went straight to that Walmart parking lot. The moment he parked, the women came running up to his vehicle, he said.

The women said, “‘Oh, you are Filipino?'”

“Yes,” Taruc replied.

But when the women told Taruc their fundraising drive was endorsed by the Philippine Centre and by the president, he knew it was a scam.

“I feel this is really something when they mention they went to the Philippine Centre,” said Taruc, but the women ran away after he began asking a lot of questions.

Winnipeg police said no one has reported this apparent scam to them yet, but Taruc hopes that will change. He asked people to call the police instead of calling him.

“Ignore them, stay away from them,” said Taruc. “If it’s possible, take a picture and go to the police right away.”

Until police find the fraudsters, De Castro worries people will continue to be taken advantage of.

“It makes me angry and makes me sad at the same time,” he said.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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