County residents beware: someone is going door-to-door pretending to represent the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education Programn in an effort to scam people out of money, officials said.
While the Hopkins County D.A.R.E. program does hold a fund raiser each year to raise money so HCSO can continue to teach kids drug, alcohol and bullying prevention at the six rural county schools, D.A.R.E. has only one authorized representative.
“I am the only person who collects donations for the D.A.R.E. program,” HCSO D.A.R.E. Deputy Brad Cummings emphasized. “I do not enlist the assistance of third party companies or individuals to help me collect donations or conduct fund raisers. I will never go door-to-door and solicit donations from individuals. At no time will any officer with the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office or Sulphur Springs Police Department go door-to-door to solicit donations for the D.A.R.E. program.”
Cummings was alerted Thursday that someone was trying to pull a scam in Sulphur Springs and began to immediately put the word out to alert the community so residents won’t fall victim to such attempts.
Apparently, a man attempted to entice city residents to purchase a product he was trying to sell by claiming the funds would help support D.A.R.E.
“This gentleman and his associates are not raising money for D.A.R.E. These people are not employed by any law enforcement entity in Hopkins County and have no authorization to accept or ask for any donations for the D.A.R.E. program. These individuals are blatantly lying and are misrepresenting the D.A.R.E. program to get people to buy what they are selling,” Cummings explained.
Should anyone be approached at their home by someone purporting to be “raising funds for the D.A.R.E. program,” Cummings recommends residents simply tell the solicitor they are not interested, then close the door and alert the sheriff’s office or police department.”
And the same is true for telephone solicitation — D.A.R.E. does not call individuals asking for donations.
“No one will ever receive a phone call from me or anyone with the sheriff’s office or police department asking for donations. If you should ever receive a phone call from someone claiming to be raising money for D.A.R.E. tell them you are not interested, hang up, and call the sheriff’s office or the police department,” Cummings added.
This year’s HCSO D.A.R.E. fundraiser will be the “Hopkins County Music and Comedy Review,” a variety show. The event will be promoted in advance “so that the public knows that there is a D.A.R.E. fundraiser going on to help fund the program,” the D.A.R.E. deputy noted.
In addition to the annual fund raiser, D.A.R.E. also partners with a group to earn funds through clothing donations. The “blue clothing bins” are located at various sites through the city and county so citizens can donate to them. The blue bins provide about $450 a month for the D.A.R.E. program. Also, the D.A.R.E. deputy will periodically place donation boxes at county convenience stores to accept donations.
“These ongoing fund raisers along with the larger fundraiser, that are publicized and properly coordinated by me, are the only way that the Hopkins County D.A.R.E. program receives funds,” Cummings said. “I would like to stress to the public that if they are ever asked for donations for the D.A.R.E. program, it will only be a uniformed officer in an officially marked unit that will ever be authorized to ask for or accept a donation. Again, this will not be in door-to-door format nor will it be a collection or solicitation over the phone.”
Cummings expressed appreciation to the many businesses and individuals who do support the program through approved fund raisers and activities so that HCSO can continue the D.A.R.E. program at the six rural school districts in Hopkins County.
“I appreciate the positive feedback I receive from the public about the D.A.R.E. program. All of the local businesses and banks in Hopkins County are very generous when it comes to donating to the program. We also have citizens that have seen me out in the county or at the sheriff’s office, that have given me donations for the D.A.R.E. program,” the D.A.R.E. deputy noted.
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