Ottawa police are warning residents to beware of a scam involving a man who knocks on doors and tells a story of hard luck before asking for money.

Police say they've received ongoing complaints about a man who goes door-to-door asking for $20 to help pay for his niece's asthma inhaler.

In each case, the homeowner later discovered the man's story was not true.

While police say giving away money is your own decision, residents are urged to be cautious of such pleas.

Police say residents should take the following steps before offering cash to strangers:

  • be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings;
  • ask for identification;
  • get written information about the cause you would be supporting, including a contact name, address and telephone number.