Central Alberta RCMP are warning residents to be cautious with their personal information, after fraudulent canvassers for two high-profile charities were reported in the area.

Red Deer RCMP said officers were called on reports of a suspicious male who was canvassing for the Canadian Cancer Society.

The person who called police had been able to get the personal information of the canvasser, and the Canadian Cancer Society confirmed the man was not working for them.

The Alberta and Northwest Territories division of the society said their door-to-door canvassing campaign ended in 2008.

RCMP were able to find the suspect, he was arrested and remains in custody facing a number of fraud-related charges.

In this case, nearly 600 people in the Red Deer area were victimized, and the number of pledges obtained added up to about $10,000.

Officers are trying to contact the victims using contact information from the pledge sheets recovered from the suspect – anyone who believes they were victimized by this scheme should call RCMP at 403-343-5575.

Police are also warning the public about an unknown group of people reportedly canvassing door-to-door, claiming to be raising money for the victims of the shooting in Connecticut.

Residents are urged to call police immediately if someone raising money for this cause stops by a home or business.

RCMP said the Canadian United Way has established a fund to raise money in support of the victims – instead of donating to door-to-door canvassers who might have alternate motives, residents are urged to donate through the United Way website.

Donors can protect themselves by doing the following:

  • Never provide personal information (bank account information, SIN, date of birth, credit card numbers or PIN) at the door or over the phone, unless you have initiated it
  • Do background research on charities to ensure they are reputable before making a donation
  • Not being pressured by canvassers to immediately make a donation
  • Request a tax receipt

More information on frauds, including those involving charities, can be found through the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre.