The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 7, 2013

Police warn residents of fundraising scams

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Police are warning residents about recent fraudulent fundraising phone calls portrayed as being connected to Danville police.

Three residents have so far received phone calls asking for donations and with the caller alleging he is with the Police Protective Fund, according to a press release from Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason.

The caller — who asked for a minimum $15 donation — also suggested being associated with the Danville police.

According to Thomason, neither Danville Police nor the Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois Unit 11, also in Danville, is seeking donations or associated with a “Police Protective Fund.”

All three reports came as a result of phone calls received by the residents Wednesday evening. The residents — who were not named — did not donate as a result of the phone call.

Police Deputy Director Doug Miller said he has found information that residents in Springfield are receiving similar phone calls claiming to be associated with police.

He said the phone number used to call the three Danville residents on Wednesday was not a local number. Anyone who receives the phone calls should not donate and is asked to contact Danville police.

Also on Thursday, Danville police issued a warning regarding a woman scamming local residents in the city.

Miller said police are investigating at least nine incidents of a woman approaching people and asking for money.

The incidents date back to Dec. 19 and 20, with the most recent one reported to police on Sunday.

According to Miller, the female suspect has usually approached people — some elderly — at their homes asking for money and giving a variety of reasons. The reasons range from buying flowers for her dead son to needing gas to see a family member in an Urbana hospital.

None of the situations have been confirmed as legitimate. Miller said he believes the woman has scammed additional residents who simply have not come forward to file a report.

In more than one instance, the woman has returned to the same resident asking for more money.

In some instances, Miller said the residents described the woman as pushy and forceful and she has stepped inside the victims’ home in some cases. No one has been harmed in any of the reported incidents.

The woman is described as between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 175-185 pounds with short hair. She is believed to be in her early to mid 40s.