The Fox River Grove Police Department is warning residents of charity scammers who have been making the rounds in the village.
Earlier this month, a group of people falsely identifying themselves as fundraisers for Crystal Lake-based charity Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund canvassed a Fox River Grove neighborhood soliciting donations, Police Chief Ron Lukasik said in an email community alert.
The group distributed fake fliers claiming they were raising funds for a 16-year-old cancer patient, Katie Smith. The fliers bore the Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund logo, and a picture of volunteers with a female cancer patient downloaded from the charity's website, police said.
While the picture was real -- it was from a legitimate fundraising event conducted several years ago -- the girl, whose name was Danielle, died in 2007, officials said.
"There is no Katie Smith," Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund President Brent Beckwith said. "My organization is run on a volunteer basis. None of us get paid. Not only is it disrespectful to us. It's disrespectful to her (Danielle). It upsets me. I pray that they can catch the person."
Beckwith said his charity does not conduct door-to-door donation campaigns, and is not affiliated with the group that sought donations in Fox River Grove.
"We have events where people come out to us," he said.
Beckwith said he got wind of the scam when one of his wife's co-workers was approached by the fakers, and he notified police immediately.
Police said the group was successful in collecting monetary donations from residents of one neighborhood amounting to theft.
"Word got out pretty quick," said Beckwith, adding he hasn't heard any other reports of scams using his charity's name. "It saddens me that people would use the good work that our organization does, and misrepresent it for their own personal gain. It is unfortunate that people who were willing to make a donation to our cause were taken in by this scam."
Beckwith said he contacted other local charities to warn them of potential scammers.
The police department is asking residents to report such scams by calling (847) 639-2411, or the Crime Stoppers hotline at (800) 762-7867 (STOP), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.