Ronald McDonald House Calls Door-to-Door Magazine "Donations" a Scam

7 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, October 27 2010 Oct 27, 2010 Wednesday, October 27, 2010 3:31:46 PM CDT October 27, 2010 in News

COLUMBIA - Ronald McDonald House officials said Wednesday a local magazine sales effort is a scam. Donors to Ronald McDonald House tipped off the agency to the scam. Those donors said they encounted "sales reps" who said people could purchase magazine subscriptions and make a donation to mid-Missouri's Ronald McDonald House. However, the Ronald McDonald House said it has no connection with those magazine salesmen.

"The funding given to them, as far as we know, is not going back to the Ronald McDonald House," said Director of Development and Communications Shannon de Leon. "We actually do not approach people's homes and ask them for contributions."

de Leon said some groups do fundraisers outside local stores and restaurants, but all of those groups must contact the Ronald McDonald House beforehand. The house then has a list of the groups operating legitimate fund raising efforts.

Columbia's business services manager, Janice Findlay, said it is very simple to check the legitimacy of door-to-door solicitors. The city requires any door-to-door sales people to have a solicitor's permit in conjunction with a business that has a business license. Businesses request these permits for certain people, and the city then does background checks of those individuals. Once they have been approved by the city, the solicitor can receive a permit.

Findlay said those who have the permits should keep them with them any time they are doing any door-to-door solicitation. If they don't have it, she said, "I'd be leery of their legitimacy." Findlay also said people can call city hall to inquire about the legitimacy of any door-to-door solicitor. de Leon said she was worried this scam could hurt the Ronald McDonald House and make people more cynical of their fund raising efforts, and wanted to make it known that there is a safe way to donate."We just want our donors to know that their donations are being taken care of when they're given to us," she said. "I don't want anyone to be taken advantage of for their generosity."

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