Friday Jun 12 2009
Police warn of Sac State scam
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Two men going door-to-door asking for donations for band trip
Police are warning Auburn residents of two suspects reportedly using a Sacramento college’s reputation as a ruse for taking money. At least two Auburn area homeowners have reported that a man knocked on their door and asked for money as part of a fundraiser for California State University, Sacramento’s marching band. The men are reportedly telling those who open their doors that the money is for the band’s upcoming trip to London. Sacramento State officials confirmed that the marching band is not fundraising at this time. They are urging residents to not donate to the door-to-door scheme. “I can’t imagine too many instances where they would be going to a different country,” said Shea Grimm, information secretary for the college’s music department. “Usually when they’re traveling, they’re going to football games.” Auburn Police Capt. John Ruffcorn said two residents have called in about two different men promoting the same fundraising scam. The men, one white and the other Hispanic, are both believed to be in their early to mid 20s, and were wearing baggy clothing, Ruffcorn said. Ruffcorn warned residents to be wary of the suspects’ other possible motives including taking personal information and later committing identity theft, or taking inventory of which homes are vacant at what times to possibly later burglarize. He advised homeowners to always ask door-to-door solicitors for valid identification and a contact number for the organization they are representing. He suggested they ask the solicitor to wait outside while they call to verify. That idea kicked in little late for one Auburn woman who called the college after writing a $35 check for their fundraiser. She said a neighbor had also written a $110 check to the man. Grimm said the woman initiated a stop payment on the check once she realized there was no official fundraising effort. “It’s such a shame that people were so nice and so generous to do that,” Grimm said. “Had this been a legitimate endeavor, we would have to laud them for their generosity. I’m just sorry to see their trust so betrayed.” Residents who encounter the suspects or have someone coming to their door using the same fundraising scam are asked to call the Auburn Police Department at (530) 823-4237. The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.