It appears Abbotsford businesses are being targeted in a telephone scam that asks them to purchase booklets that will be used by sick children.
Representatives of the Healing Hands Busy Book tell business owners they are working with local hospitals and health authorities on a booklet that will be given to sick and injured kids. It is allegedly full of games, puzzles and other material designed to take their minds off their troubles.
The Abbotsford Downtown Business Association and the Abbotsford Police are warning businesses that wish to get financially involved with this project that they are not dealing with a charitable organization, and children will not receive the books.
“Healing Hands is not on the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of registered charities. As well, Healing Hands is not affiliated with Fraser Health here in the Valley,” says an APD press release.
The release calls the busy book “a well-run scam” that appears to have been operating in North America for more than a decade.
Over that time, numerous health authorities and hospitals across Canada have issued statements and warnings to businesses that they are in no way affiliated with the Healing Hands Busy Book. That includes the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in 2008.
The Federal Trade Commission shut them down in the U.S. in 2003, as part of a sweep called Operation Phoney Philanthropy. The Healing Hands Busy Book operators were prohibited from misrepresenting that they are affiliated with local hospitals, or that children at those hospitals will receive their books. They were also ordered to pay $500,000 in consumer redress.
An Abbotsford business received the sample book from Healing Hands and realized it was a scam after doing some online research. No money was sent.
Healing Hands has a one-page website at http://www.healinghandsbusybook.com/
If any Abbotsford businesses are affected, the APD asks they forward the information to Const. Mitch La Framboise, referencing Abbotsford Police File #11-46355.