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Authorities warn Ark-La-Tex residents about holiday scams

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 1:13pm

Since the holiday season puts people in the giving mood, scammers claiming to be asking for donations take advantage of this time. 

"Scams kind of pick up during the holiday season," Erin Habich, Bossier Sheriff's Office spokesperson, told us.  One fake organization that the Bossier Sheriff's Office has seen over the past couple of weeks is called 'Puppy Patrol'.  This group says that they need donations for local law enforcement agencies to take police dogs into schools to teach kids to stay away from drugs.

"It's a big misunderstanding where they're trying to make people believe that local law enforcement agencies are asking for money, and that's not the case at all," Habich explained.  Habich told us that local law enforcement does not ask for donations since their work is funded by tax payer's dollars.

The Bossier Sheriff's Office wants to make sure that you do not fall victim to a scam like this one especially during the holiday season when many non-profits like the Salvation Army and Food Bank are looking for donations.  "A lot of scammers see that as the perfect opportunity to make phone calls and send mail to people and target them to get them since they're in that nice giving mood," Habich said.

These types of scams upset non-profit organizations like the Food Bank who legitimately need donations to help them fulfill their services to our community.  Amie Caskey told us that "our protocol is that we basically send out letters, and appeals is what we call them, to previous donors.  And we never make phone calls."  Caskey says that they do not even have most donors' phone numbers in their database.

Authorities want to remind the kind-hearted people willing to donate this holiday season that if you have doubts about any organization, then go with your gut feeling.  If you are concerned about donation requests from a certain organization, then authorities suggest you call the Better Business Bureau or your local law enforcement agency.

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