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Magazine subscription, donation scams reported in Pullman
Friday, Apr. 6, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - A scam involving door-to-door magazine solicitors falsely claiming to be working on a project for Washington State University has been reported to Pullman police, who are warning area residents.
"There are no such legitimate projects or fundraisers being undertaken by anyone at WSU,” said Bill Gardner, WSU executive director of public safety. "People need to be on alert to avoid being a possible victim of a scam.”
"We recommend that you do not let salespeople inside your home, do not discuss any personal issues and demand to see a permit,” said Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins.
Police have received several complaints of suspected fraud. They include reports of solicitors from Blue Diamond Subscription Services and one case where an elderly woman appears to have been the target.
On March 31, two college aged males told the victim they were working on a communications project for WSU and were interviewing influential people. The victim was told her donation would give them points that would count toward their project and help them earn a trip to Spain.
The suspects are described as: a white male, 5’8”, blonde hair and blue eyes with a muscular build, and wearing a brown coat; and a male, possibly Samoan, also 5’8”, wearing a navy blue coat. An associated vehicle was possibly a blue van.
"Door-to-door vendors need to have an Itinerant Vendor Permit from the City of Pullman,” said Jenkins. "If they cannot provide a permit, or they tell you that their ‘supervisor’ has the permit, do not do business with them and call the Pullman Police Department immediately.”
Jenkins said the department has not issued permits to any door-to-door magazine solicitors.
In the case of the elderly victim, Pullman police said the two men talked their way into the residence and convinced the woman to take them to the Moscow Walmart to try to purchase a $2,800 television set. Walmart refused the check. The group then went to the Pullman Walmart, where they tried to get her to cash a check to donate to a wounded veterans’ fund; but that check was also refused.
The check was made out to "Blue Diamond Sub.” The group returned to the victim’s residence, where a neighbor intervened and drove the subjects out of the neighborhood.
Anyone who may have seen these suspects or have information on where they may be operating is asked to call Pullman Police at 509-334-0802.