The RCMP is warning the public about aggressive charity canvassers after receiving several complaints from North Vancouver residents over the past few weeks.
“Someone has been going around and soliciting for a food bank . . . they’re being quite aggressive in their approach and laying a guilt trip on, saying numerous things about how big your house is, your kids have food, so you should be helping us out,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong.
The canvassers carry clip boards with several $20 bills displayed prominently, “so it looks like the guy next door gave,” said De Jong.
In June 2011, the North Shore News reported on fundraisers from Single Parent Food Banks of B.C. who used a similar approach, complete with the clipboard and $20 bills. Deep Cove resident Marian Wilson, whose husband gave money to the charity, later found out it was not registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
The food bank the canvassers claim to represent in the current rash of complaints is not a registered charity, said De Jong, making the charitable receipts they issue worthless.
Legitimate charities usually provide their fundraisers with clear, visible identification, said De Jong. Groups also need to get a municipal permit to solicit for funds door-to-door.
“Trust your good instincts,” said De Jong. “Someone’s appearance, the way they talk with you will give a good indication whether they’re legitimate or not.”
The RCMP is now investigating the complaints and is asking residents who come across suspicious canvassers to record their license plates. If people are in doubt about the credibility of a door-to-door fundraiser, police recommend you ask for a mailing address to send a donation to after checking out the charity.
The Canada Revenue Agency lists all registered charities in a searchable database on its website, www.cra-arc.gc.ca.