‘Tis the season for thefts and scams: Peterborough police urge residents to be vigilant

It was a strange encounter for Peterborough resident Sarah Chornohus on Tuesday night.

She says she heard a rustling in the dark, outside of her home.

When she went outside, two people popped out of the shadows and began singing Christmas carols. While it’s the season for carollers, Chornohus said it didn’t seem legit.

“They were very excitable, and really explaining what they were doing,” recalled Chornohus. “First thing they did was ask me for money. I told them I didn’t have any cash, and they looked at me like I had three heads and were like, ‘What!? You don’t have any money?’”

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After Chornohus saw a photo circulated on social media that she says matched the description of the man and woman carollers, she called police.

“I was told to warn my neighbours and keep an eye out for each other,” added Chornohus.

Peterborough police are reminding residents to be careful what information they give to people they don’t know.

“Whether it’s online, by phone or at your door,” said Lauren Gilchrist, a police spokesperson. “[They’re] potentially spreading holiday cheer, but you don’t really know their motive.”

Another thing police are asking residents to be mindful of are scams posing as charities. Police say it’s important to do your homework.

“Go to the Canada Revenue Agency website and look up the charities directorate. Enter the name of the charity and look at their tax returns and charitable number,” said Jim Russell, CEO of United Way Peterborough & District. “You can always ask for their charitable number, and if they can’t give it to you, that should be a red flag.”

If you think you may have encountered a scammer or suspicious person, you’re asked to call police.

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