A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Door-to-door teddy bear selling scam

January 3rd, 2009 · Comments

Allisonnw started up a comment thread in the forum about a woman selling teddy bears door-to-door:

I just had a woman at my door selling teddy bears and taking donations. She said a little girl in the ‘hood had been in some sort of an accident and some people had rounded up money to buy teddy bears to sell to help raise money for the girl. I could not tell if this was a real story or some sort of a fundraising scam.

Her post prompted responses with similar stories. I called the Seattle Police Department’s north precinct and the duty officer said a guy was telling the same story in his neighboorhood just to our west. “It’s a scam. Call 911 and get a description,” he said.

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Comments

  1. Bill says:

    I guess it came straight from the police, so I guess you should do it, but does that really warrant calling 911? Is it really an emergency?

  2. etta says:

    911 isn’t just for emergencies. It’s for any criminal activity. Every 911 call gets logged and helps SPD determine how much attention our neighborhood needs. 911 is your friend. Don’t be a stranger.

  3. Katrin says:

    I would call the “non-emergency” number, personally, since I do believe 911 is just for emergencies.

    http://www.seattle.gov/police/contact/911/default.htm

  4. Jon says:

    Actually Katrin – Your link suggests 911 is appropriate:

    “There is suspicious activity involving a person(s) or vehicle that appears to have criminal intent.”

  5. biophile says:

    I have personally been told by SPD several times to call 911 on non-emergencies. I agree that it seems wrong, but that’s the way they want it I guess. I have even called the non-emergency number to be told to call 911 directly next time. All this just for your routine “ladies of the evening” complaints in Ballard.

  6. Steph says:

    I fall as a victim.
    My 2 yr old was just waking up from a nap and she wanted a bear. $10 for one and they’re really cheap! I actually asked the gal a few questions.
    Summary – “A little girl in the neighborhood was in a car wreck and both her legs were broken. The donations were going to get a special hospital bed for her at home. She was hit by a drunk 19 yr old on the phone up on Greenwood last week. They received a donation of 300 bears to collect donations with from someone in the neighborhood” I asked what neighborhood the girl was from and she said, “Not far from here.”.
    Boy, she had it down pat. I keep up with the news, ballard and other local ongoings and hadn’t heard of something like this happening. I wondered.
    I gave the police a call and since the scammers weren’t in the area at the time they transfered me to the non-emergency #.
    I tell ya, People will stoop to any level, won’t they? SAD!
    The woman, a heavier set blond woman around 40yrs old came to the door and a middle aged brown haired man was down on the sidewalk with a couple bears and a basket. They seemed like they were in quite a hurry. The woman was actually sweaty! Ick!
    I feel studpid I fell victim, but at least it was only $10 on my part. Just DON’T CONTRIBUTE TO ANYONE AT YOUR DOOR!
    If this were a true scenario, it’s SO sad we can’t contribute to something like this and feel good about ourselves!
    ~Steph “Born in Ballard”

  7. h.Lo says:

    Goodness, a man came to our house a couple of days before Christmas asking about this. So it must have been going on for a while. We didn’t open the door and turned him away. Hope they stop coming around soon.

  8. Jen says:

    We had this exact scenario a couple of days before Christmas too, up here in Crown Hill. I don’t open the door to strangers, so didn’t buy.

  9. Bella says:

    They came to our door a week before Xmas, so yes, it’s been going on a couple of weeks now. I suspected it wasn’t legit, but didn’t call 911 because wouldn’t that suck if it were?
    If I saw her again, calling 911 would be warranted as I would hope that would create a response that would be quick enough to catch them. Now that I think about it, I have to wonder if they are casing houses to rob while making a little quick cash.

  10. Allison says:

    It was the heavier set blonde woman that came to my door. I remember thinking she didn’t look like she was from this neighborhood actually

  11. Jen says:

    They are still out there!!! Came by yesterday. There are two people that I could see: both white, one male, one female. Male is medium height (maybe 5’7″-5’10”,) short brown sandy hair that is a bit shaggy, medium to thin build, sort of potchy face, identified himself as a real estate agent. Female has dyed blonde, straight, long hair that was pulled back in a pony tail, heavier set and round, fair skin, couldn’t tell height. Both were wearing black jackets. I live in the Sunset Hill neighborhood on 29th & 75th and it looked like they were walking north on 29th. I bet they’ll be back next weekend so it would be great if they were stopped!

  12. CK says:

    Awesome. She came to my house in Crown Hill a few days before Xmas too. I gave her 5 bucks but said “no bear thanks.”

    If I see them again I will definitely call the cops.

  13. Colleen says:

    Totally fell for it! Gave what I had in my wallet ($10, I think) and told him to keep the bear. Wished him luck…. Wow. I feel like a complete idiot.

    I don’t know how these people live with themselves. Oh well….

  14. KING 5 News says:

    We have actually heard about this scam happening in Kirkland as well. We’d like to do a story on this to get the word out and try to stop any other people from being taken in. If anyone reading this has been contacted by the “teddy bear salesman”, please call our newsroom at 206-448-3850 or email us at newstips@king5.com

  15. Kim says:

    They were out Saturday January 3rd around 5p.m..
    Northwest 69th ST between 28th and 30th. They had a slightly altered story, a girl was hit by a car and killed, they were selling the bears to collect money for her mother. I said no, my neighbor gave them money and did not take a bear, sounds like they continue because they have success?

  16. green'hood says:

    This scammer came to my house. She was clearly suspicious and we didn’t buy. I’m wondering if someone could get a picture of her by acting like they are going to get $$ but actually go and get your camera ready and “click”! A description is one thing, a picture is ideal. Especially since the news is trying to find this person also. Please, someone try it!

  17. Kirkland says:

    Looks like they’re in Kirkland now! Just came to my door. Didn’t seem right, but I gave them a dollar in case it was legit! Luckily didn’t fall for the whole $10 bear thing.

  18. Susan Kuhn says:

    I live in Fife and this happened to me last night. They were selling teddy bears for $10 and I was suckered in to buying two of them! My boyfriend was so mad at me that I was prompted to google “teddy bear scam” and found all kinds of this stuff going on…. They guy was in his 30’s, blonde and scruffy looking.