Just when you thought crooks could sink no lower, there’s a cookie scam afoot at the height of Girl Scout cookie season.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police issued an official “Door-to-Door Cookie Sales Scam” alert on January 10, noting the scammers were using children to make the sales.
“Please use caution when making purchases from someone you don’t know,” said the warning. “CMPD has received several complaints from people who thought they were supporting a school by purchasing cookies, pizza kids, popcorn, etc. But never received their products.”
Nicole Augustine of south Charlotte’s Steele Creek area is among those who claim to have been duped by the cookie crooks.
Some children selling cookies rang her doorbell in October, and they claimed to be raising money for their school, she told the Observer’s news partner WBTV.
“It was a full color Otis Spunkmeyer catalog - the whole nine yards. It was legit paperwork, so I didn’t think twice about it,” Augustine told WBTV.
She bought $50 worth. It’s been three months, and still no cookies, she told WBTV. “To have been taken advantage of in this type of way, I felt wronged, I felt violated.”
The Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council’s says they have been made aware of the scam, which is casting a shadow across one of the organization’s most important annual fundraiser. Girl Scout cookie sales started Dec. 15, with more than 17,000 girls and adults in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties out selling cookies via door-to-door sales. The season ends March 10.
Council officials responded to bad publicity this week by issuing a tips list to help identify “young entrepreneurs representing the largest girl-led business in the world.”
- A Girl Scout should be wearing a branded uniform, sash or easily-identifiable clothing.
- A Girl Scout should never be alone when selling door to door.
- Girl Scouts are informed to never enter a person’s house.
- Sales should only take place during daylight hours.
- When selling Girl Scout cookies, an official order form is utilized. Ask to see the form to verify the seller.
- While a Girl Scout will not give out her full name or address, it is safe to request her troop number and first name. When in doubt, it can be verified by calling the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council at (704) 731-6500.
“I would just urge the community to continue to support kids when they are making their fund raising efforts, but to make sure they are done in a safe and verifiable way,” Angela Woods, CEO of the Girl Scouts Hornets' Nest Council told WBTV.