There is no shortage of charities and organizations in need at Christmas time.
But a recent incident at a community police station in PoCo has Coquitlam RCMP offering tips to ensure the kindness of residents isn't exploited.
The detachment's official launch of the fourth-annual "911 We Care" toy drive, which began Nov. 29, is underway and toys are flowing in. But police said the launch led to an "interesting incident" on Nov. 23.
A man in his 60s entered the Mary Hill community police station and asked if he could have one of the toy drive posters because he wanted to donate a bunch of toys.
"The station volunteer felt that he was sincere, but his request was quite unusual," said RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung.
"She politely told the gentleman that there was no spare and he left."
Police note even though no criminal offence took place, Mounties are using the opportunity to offer advice so people don't get scammed.
Their tips include: . Be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings, especially pleas involving current events.
. Ask for identification. If the solicitor refuses to tell you or does not have some form of verifiable ID, hang up or close the door and report it to law enforcement officials.
. Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you may be dealing with a scam artist.
. Watch out for similar sounding names. Some phony charities use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations. If you notice a small difference from the name of the charity you intend to deal with, call the organization to check it out.
Police are also reminding residents the "911 We Care" toy drive does not go door-to-door or use telephones to solicit for donations.