Con Artists and Texas Children's Hospital

Texas Children's Hospital and the Houston Better Business Bureau say scam artists are going around town raising money for the hospital. There's just one problem. It's not true. They're scamming people, as Jim Bell reports.

Officials at Texas Children's say they're getting calls from people around town who say they've been approached by people selling a variety of cheap stuff, and claiming it will benefit kids at the hospital. Vice President for Development Laura Shuford says Texas Children's doesn't raise money that way.

"They're often using methods such as car washes, oil changes, coupon booklets, magazine sales or book sales. And Texas Children's does not use these types of fund raisers, and we do not solicit door to door."

Dan Parsons at the Better Business Bureau says using the name of a prestigious hospital like Texas Children's to fleece people is one of the oldest scams in the book.

"They call them 'affinity frauds', appealing to something you know, respect and understand. So that when you're being solicited you don't even think about it. It's like 'Oh that's a well known institution, I'm gonna give my money.' You let down your guard, don't do your research, you've been had, the institution's been had because their good name is ruined. The eventual recipient of the donation has been had because they never see it. Who makes out? The con artist makes out."

Parsons says people need to be suspicious of things like this, and should always ask the sales people for more information about themselves and their group so you can check them out. If they don't provide the information instantly, Parsons says close the door or hang up the phone. Jim Bell, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.