DOWNEY - Residents of Downey should be aware of a problem that has persisted for many years; swindlers have been falsely claiming they are raising funds for organizations that they are not associated with.Sgt. Brian Baker of the Downey Police Department has encountered many situations in which people perform house repairs without appointments, then steal valuable items from unsuspecting residents. "Always ask for identification before allowing entrance to your home," said Baker. "Even if you do let someone in, make sure to lock the front door to prevent anyone else from coming in and stealing your possessions." Many sports teams and clubs from Downey and Warren lack significant funds to keep their programs running, so students often ask for help by fundraising door-to-door throughout the community. However, this privilege is being abused by swindlers. There has been a significant increase in those who claim to be a part of school groups in order to trick residents into giving them money. "People try to earn some credibility by claiming that they are a part of schools," said Warren principal John Harris. "They want cash because they can't do anything with checks, so it's always important to be careful when being asked to donate." One Downey citizen, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety reasons, recently experienced this type of confrontation. Two young men claimed that they were taking donations for their wrestling team. Assuming that the donation would be put to good use, the citizen offered them a check, but they declined. When the young men were asked basic questions about the names of teachers and staff, they gave inaccurate information. Suspicion greatly increased when these swindlers did not even know the gender of Warren's principal. "In the future, I won't give any money to students who come door-to-door unless I'm absolutely sure that they are fundraising for school organizations," said the citizen. From now on, Downey and Warren students should clearly identify who they are and the purpose of their fundraising. Whether it is in the form of a sports jersey or a marching band uniform, wearing school-related apparel is highly recommended to avoid any conflicts and to strengthen reliability. According to Section 4500 of the Downey Municipal Code, charitable solicitations should not directly benefit the individuals who are partaking in the fundraising. Everyone has the right to decline to offer contributions to any group. If the solicitors refuse to leave, they may be attempting to steal money. For further guidelines, refer to the city's website at www.downeyca.org.
********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42