Alarm raised after charity scam

By Kiri Gillespie

A warning has gone out to Western Bay of Plenty residents after a report of a suspicious person claiming to be collecting donations for breast cancer awareness.

Te Puke resident Phyllis Mead said a boy, aged about 14 to 15, knocked on her door and asked her if she would like to buy a raffle ticket for a breast cancer awareness fundraiser. "I was going to be the first customer," Mrs Mead said.

"He said he was collecting for breast cancer. I said 'have you got any identification?' He said 'no, I've left it at home'."

Mrs Mead told the boy to get his identification and then she would give him money - but he didn't come back.

"He walked out across the road and started talking with another boy who was there. Whether they were in cahoots, I don't know."

Mrs Mead said it seemed like the pair tried another house.

She called the Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust to ask if they had collectors door-knocking in Te Puke and she was told they did not.

Manager Lea Lehndorf said she was alarmed to hear about the incident.

"We've got a lot of good people out there and a lot of people have been donating to breast cancer causes and to think that someone might be collecting on their own behalf, for themselves, is a little disturbing."

Ms Lehndorf said official collectors did not usually door knock in residential areas and if there were collectors, they would have appropriately branded buckets and identification with the BCSS logo.

Ms Lehndorf said she would like to hear from anyone who has been approached by someone posing as a BCSS collector.

If people have been affected by a charity scam, they can help warn others by reporting it to Consumer Affairs New Zealand Scamwatch at

- Bay of Plenty Times

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