'Fund-raising' scams creating confusion

'Fund-raising' scams creating confusion
Scammers have been giving charities and direct sellers like Mr Leslie Chua, 26, a bad name. The former convict, who sells key chains in public for a living, says that he is often mistaken for a scam fund-raiser.

SINGAPORE - Scam artists posing as charity fund-raisers are becoming more of a menace on the streets, and they are being confused with direct sellers.

Collectors brazenly claim to be genuine volunteers from local charities, while others have even started going door to door, often staying one step ahead of the law.

Organisations like the Yellow Ribbon Project, the Singapore Red Cross, the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), the Diabetic Society of Singapore, St Luke's ElderCare and Willing Hearts have all reported that their names were abused by "fund-raisers" this year.

Willing Hearts gets one to two calls a day about individuals selling souvenirs who claim to be from the charity.

The SPD received six reports this year from the public about the same problem.

In some cases, collections of old clothes and electrical appliances and even flag days have been conducted behind SPD's back.

"Everybody's collecting money now, it's ridiculous," said Willing Hearts founder Tony Tay.

These "volunteers" prowl outside popular malls such as Tampines Mall, Raffles City and Plaza Singapura flogging key chains, mobile phone accessories, ice-cream, greeting cards and stationery.

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