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UPDATE: Cardinal Glennon Warns of Book Sale Scam

5:21 PM, Sep 7, 2009   |    comments
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KSDK -- We're learning much more about a door to door book scam targeting people from St. Louis County to the Metro East.

We warned you Sunday about people going door to door in parts of Clayton, Ladue, and Florissant...falsely claiming to be raising money for Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center.

We've since learned the scam is larger, with victims in Crestwood, Afton, Shiloh, Illinois and other areas.

"They were planning a trip to London, they were in a competition at Mizzou with their journalism class," Joy Roberts explains.

At least that's what scam artists lead her to believe.

Joy and her husband Phil Roberts live in Shiloh.

Erin Davis and her family live in the Ballwin area.

Both families were recently preyed on in a similar way.

"One guy claimed to be from this neighborhood, but I'd never seen him," Phil Roberts explains.

The Roberts were approached at their home Thursday evening by two men in their 20s, claiming to be Mizzou students.

The pair told the Roberts they were raising money for a journalism competition and children in need.

"They started talking about a fundraising event they were having through the University of Missouri at Columbia, and they showed us a pamphlet of books for children that would benefit Cardinal Glennon Children's Fund, and for autistic children, and we thought...well it's a good cause...it's a good cause," say the Roberts.

The Roberts handed over a check for $385.00.

But they quickly canceled it when they realized they'd been ripped off.

Sunday night they saw Cardinal Glennon officials on KSDK warning of this scam.

"As a child I was hospitalized for many, many years, and I have compassion for children who are hospitalized, and thought, we thought we don't give to that many charities, why not try this one. Wrong one," says Joy Roberts.

Meanwhile Erin Davis and her family were approached Saturday evening by a man in his 20's, with a similar story.

"He claimed he was a junior college athlete and that his team had just won some kind of competition to go to nationals," Davis says.

But in a new twist, the man said he was trying to help St. Louis Children's Hospital.

"He had a very professional looking brochure, and we could choose to either purchase books for ourselves, or to be donated to children's hospital in honor of either the autistic children or the children with cancer," says Davis.

Like Cardinal Glennon, St. Louis Children's Hospital says it is not fundraising door to door.

Victims have received nearly identical receipts.

One version has the name "teamxtremesales.com" on it, another has the name "prestigesalesusa.com" on it.

We tried contacting both companies - unsuccessfully.

On the receipts, both claim to be Phoenix, Arizona based.

Online we found numerous complaints about both companies from all over the U.S.

Here's our original story posted Sunday:

KSDK-- SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center is warning people about book sales scheme.

Several people contacted the Cardinal Glennon Foundation office last week, saying they bought books from door-to-door sales people. Hospital spokesperson Bob Davidson says these people are not affiliated with Cardinal Glennon and none of the money raised will go to the hospital.

Five people in Florissant, Clayton and Ladue gave money to the phony sales people.  In each case, the victims were told that the book sales would benefit  autistic children at Cardinal Glennon, and that the money would reach the children more quickly if they paid cash.

"You know Cardinal Glennon raises money in a lot of ways, but we'll never go door to door, we'll never ask someone explicitly to give us cash, and so, you know the people who are falling victim to this we feel bad for them because their kindness and their generosity has been taken advantage of," Davidson said.

Victims say they were given receipts from a Phoenix, Arizona company called "Prestige Sales".

Anyone with information about this scam is asked to call the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation at (314) 577-5605. That's the same number to call if you'd like to make a legitimate donation, or to check out anyone using the Cardinal Glennon name.

 

KSDK

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