Ontario police association fundraising mistaken for phone scam
Miscommunication between police, Ontario association leads to public warning
Police are calling down warnings of an alleged phone scam after it turned out the phone calls were part of a legitimate Ontario fundraising campaign.
On Tuesday morning, Ottawa police issued a news release that informed the public about an alleged scam where a caller states he or she is from the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) and is looking for donations for "underprivileged kids."
The release then said Ottawa police confirmed "neither the Police Association of Ontario nor the Ottawa Police Association are conducting such a campaign."
It also said the number, 613-627-3200, was not associated with PAO, even though an automated message said it was.
As it turns out, the Ontario police association, an umbrella group for police unions across the province, is running a campaign for its program called "Kids and Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days."
The program has its own website, which partners with the non-profit organization Fishing Forever.
Update: Fundraising for the Police Association of Ontario currently underway <a href="http://t.co/EDNmPnBThR">http://t.co/EDNmPnBThR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash">#ottnews</a>—@OttawaPolice
Ottawa police recalled the news release later on Tuesday and blamed miscommunication between the force and the police association when officers investigated the phone calls.
The phone number was also from an internet voiceover provider, police said.
Stephen Reid, the Executive Director of the Police Association of Ontario, said he was shocked the Ottawa Police described the Association's fundraiser as a scam.
Reid admits it was a communications breakdown by someone at the association and said part of the problem is that the police association web site has almost no information about the fundraising program, so people who get called could not verify it is legitimate.
That is going to be changed as soon as possible, said Reid.