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Scammers selling counterfeit coupon book

By KSL.com | Posted - Mar. 7, 2011 at 11:03 p.m.



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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS -- The Utah-Southern Idaho chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is warning potential donors of a fundraising scam.

The organization recently became aware of a fraudulent coupon book being sold door to door under the guise of raising money for the National MS Society. The booklet offers alleged discounts to Salt Lake City businesses, but it is not supported by local companies and does not benefit the society.

A week ago, at 8:45 at night, Lindsay Petroff answered a knock at the door of her Millcreek home. She bought one of the booklets, but not because she thought she was helping the MS Society.

"I wanted him to go away," Petroff said. "I gave him $5 so he would just leave, because he was really creepy."

Petroff says the man stopped at at least four different houses on her street that she knows of.

The man is described as about 5 feet 11 inches tall with blue eyes and light, reddish hair. Petroff said he appears to be in his 50s and was wearing a black leather jacket, Levis, and only one black leather glove on his left hand. On his right hand he wore a thick gold and silver ring. He also had a Bluetooth in his right ear.

"He made every single one of us feel uncomfortable," Petroff said.

She and her neighbors called police and the National MS Society, Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter. Over the last couple of months, there have been 25 to 30 calls to the chapter about the same scam.

Anyone who spots the man should call police right away.

"The cops need to get there and they need to see him. And it seems that by the time someone calls the police, the man has moved on," said Juliann Fritz, with the National MS Society.

"They have so many similar door-to-door type cases that they're hard to track down," she continued. "That's why it's really important that people call right away."

The counterfeit coupon book, which is being sold for five dollars has a white cover with an American flag and National Multiple Sclerosis Society wording. The coupons are printed on gray paper and offer free or discounted products to businesses including Godfather's Pizza, Gringos Great Mexican, Town & Country Bowling, Olympus Bowling, Off Broadway Theater, Top Hat Video and Tracy Aviary, as well as several other establishments.

Anyone approached for contributions in this manner should contact local authorities or the MS Society at 800-344-4867.

For its part, the National MS Society says its fundraisers are community events. They do not raise money door to door.

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Story written by Jed Boal, with contributions from the ksl.com news team.

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