Cops: Locals fell for door-to-door scam
Vail, CO Colorado
AVON ” Two teenage girls raised Tina Vardaman’s suspicion when they tried to sell her books for $96 apiece to raise money for a soccer club Tuesday at her Wildridge home.
On Vardaman’s doorstep, the girls convinced her that they attended a local private school, even though they should have been in class Tuesday afternoon, she said.
One said her mother worked at the Vail Valley Medical Center.
“They were talking the talk and they were very convincing,” Vardaman said. “They make you believe they are neighborhood kids.”
Vardaman’s suspicion paid off, but others were not so fortunate. Several Singletree and Wildridge residents wrote checks to salespeople claiming to be from Kay’s Naturals the past week.
The teenage boys and girls were selling the high-priced books illegally, police said.
Two teenage girls were ticketed for attempted theft Tuesday night, said Avon police Detective Paul Arnold.
Their names were not released because they were juveniles, he said. Police also did not say where the girls were from.
Police also found that the real soccer camp was not raising money door-to-door, he said.
Further details were not available from Avon police Wednesday.
These people who claimed to work for Kay’s Naturals were using a legitimate company’s name to commit theft, said Ann Jones Kazemzadeh, president of Kay’s Naturals.
The real Kay’s Naturals sells high-protein snacks for athletes and diabetics, not books, she said.
“If we could find out who they are or where they are then, absolutely, we would stick our lawyers on them,” Kazemzadeh said.
Around 2002, the company began receiving calls from people across the United States who said they were victims of scams in which someone had used the name Kay’s Naturals. The calls come in waves and then die down for some months, she said.
Two teenage boys claiming to work for Kay’s Naturals persuaded Singletree resident Karen Shaw to write them a $50 check May 3. The boys showed her a brochure touting the soccer camp and a book with laminated pages filled with descriptions of Disney books, she said.
After watching a report about the scam on Denver’s 7News Sunday night, Shaw called her bank, stopped payment on the check and later closed her bank account, she said.
“When I saw that I was like, ‘Oh my god we were completely taken,'” Shaw said.
Unlike Vardaman’s incident, the boys did not tell Shaw that they were locals. They told her they just wanted to attend the soccer camp, she said.
Deborah Warren arrived home from dinner Thursday night to find two teenage boys standing on the porch of her Singletree home, she said. She wrote them a $40 check for books and then they asked her for $14 more for their sponsor, she said.
“They said, ‘My grandmother lives down the street,’ and I was thinking I should have asked them, because it’s a small town,” Warren said. “But I just wanted to get rid of them.”
She called and warned some neighbors because she suspected something was wrong, Warren said.
“It’s a shame,” Shaw said. “They were very good at what they were doing, but it was a scam.”
Selling products and lying about where the proceeds will go is illegal, Arnold said.
Door-to-door scams like these could turn into identity theft if a victim wrote a check, he said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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