RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s one of the oldest scams in the book, the impersonator, and now some are taking advantage of Girl Scout cookie season to get your money — pretending to take orders but leaving customers empty-handed.

There’s nothing more innocent than children selling legitimate Girl Scout cookies

“Lots of people like Girl Scout cookies so it’s not too hard to sell them,” said a local Girl Scout named Anelia.

It’s a tradition that goes back generations.

“I was a Girl Scout,” said cookie purchaser Suzanne Brinn. “When I grew up, I loved supporting the Girl Scouts.”

When the children sell the cookies, it’s a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

“You learn responsibility and how to take care of stuff,” said Girl Scout Hannah Maxwell.

“It teaches her how to set goals and how to be an entrepreneur,” said her mother, Mary.

Last year about $800 million was generated by Girl Scout cookie sales nationally with about $600 million going to local troops — and heartless criminals want a piece of that action.

“There are reports of people pretending to be Girl Scouts and scamming people saying they will take orders for cookies,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of the Eastern Carolinas. “They end up never getting their cookies because they are not actually Girl Scouts.”

Turns out, some Girl Scout councils allow ordering weeks before the cookies actually arrive — and that’s where the imposters move in, going door-to-door.

“Some councils allow you to do pre-orders then do booth sales after the fact,” said Melissa Foster, the mother of a Girl Scout selling cookies.

“Reports are of adults and children posing as Girl Scouts,” said Parker.

“That’s awful — terrible,” said Brinn. “Why would you falsify something so wonderful?”

All Girl Scouts who go door-to-door are supposed to wear their uniforms, but there’s another way to check when they ask you to place your order.

“There’s an official ABC cookie app,” said Foster. “If you are paying by credit card make sure you use the cookie app.”

The Girl Scouts also have a website that allows you to search by zip code for a cookie booth in your area.

The website also offers a number you can text for cookies, so you won’t fall victim to this scam.