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Solicitor in Dunedin claims to be with the Cancer Society

Nancy Frock was surprised when someone knocked on her door Feb. 6,collecting money for the American Cancer Society.

After all, she had just received a letter from the agency confirming she would be the volunteer in the area's door-to-door campaign.

"I couldn't figure out why this woman was doing my route," Mrs. Frock said Thursday.

Curious about her volunteer spot, Mrs. Frock, 39, of La Grande Drive, called the American Cancer Society and asked if there had been a clerical error.

Mary Wilson, who is in charge of door-to-door solicitations in north Pinellas County, said there had been no mistake.

She thinks someone was posing as a cancer society volunteer, trying to defraud people of their money.

Diane Serrabella said she gave the woman a check for $5. She did not think the incident strange until later when Wilson called her to tell of her suspicions. Serrabella said she asked the woman for a receipt, but the woman would not provide one.

"My mom died of cancer two years ago, and I didn't think anything about it," the 34-year-old housewife said. "I'll be real angry if she turns out to be fraudulent."

Wilson has not called the police yet, but said she had received a call from someone else saying they had received a suspicious solicitation in the mail.

"This usually happens when there is a campaign going on," Wilson said. "If someone's out collecting, that's going to hurt us when we go to collect."

In Mrs. Frock's case, the phony solicitor asked for her name and address, which she gave. Then the solicitor asked for money but Mrs. Frock refused, saying she would send a check if the woman would give her an envelope.

"She immediately dropped it after I asked her for an envelope," Mrs. Frock said.

Neighbors said the woman was about 5-foot-5, with short dark hair, and was dressed in denim jeans and a light-colored sweater.

Serrabella said the woman appeared to be in her mid-30s and may have had a tattoo on her right ankle.

The American Cancer Society suggests residents ask for identification from solicitors.

It also suggests that residents look for their logo, the Sword of Hope, and make checks payable to the American Cancer Society.