A con artist is using the name of a charity in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area to line his pockets with cash. Candace Gregory, president of the Open Door Mission, says she’s seen a lot of scams in her 17 years at the agency, but this marks a first.

“I know for sure that this man is not homeless and that this is not panhandling, this is direct solicitation door-to-door,” Gregory says. “He has made his own permit and ID. I know he’s scammed a lot of people.”

Gregory says besides going door-to-door, the man is also hanging around areas that draw lots of people and is asking for money. “I’ve gotten reports from Omaha as well as Council Bluffs,” Gregory says. “He seems to be frequenting high-traffic areas where he can hit a lot of people at one time. He’s also been to parks, so he’s very creative.” Gregory says he is also handing out candy when a donation is made.

“And actually been selling chocolate bars in place of their donation. I need to make the public aware that we did not have knowledge of this nor did we endorse it or give him permission. Gregory says the Open Door Mission doesn’t solicit money that way. The mission provides 1,700 hot, nutritious meals every day and more than 400 safe shelter beds for men, women and children.

Gregory says along with cash, this scammer is also accepting checks. She does not know who they are being made out to or how they are being cashed. If someone approaches you with this scam, call the police.