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Idaho Attorney General says charities need to beware

By By Chris Cole
Published On: Nov 22 2013 06:27:35 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 22 2013 06:54:06 PM CST

Normally it's the consumers that need to be on alert for scams, but this time it's the charities that need to beware.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

New scams are targeting non-profit organizations and charities using a method of donation overpayment.

Scam artists will donate to an organization using a fraudulent credit card or Paypal attached to a stolen card or fake bank account. They'll donate a large amount of money, like $5,000.

Then they will call the organization saying they added an extra zero, and it was only supposed to be $500. The key is the scammer asking to have the difference refunded to a different account or a different card number. Usually they will say something is wrong with the original card, or even claim they were a victim of a stolen credit card or bank account number.

Margaret Ganyo, executive director of the United Way of Southeast Idaho said these scammers are "especially nasty."

"Non-profit's play a huge role in the health of our communities," Ganyo said. "It's just so sad to have people prey upon the very organizations we most need."

Ganyo said it's especially important to be alert during the holiday season, when people tend to give the most.

"Only refund it to the original card number," Ganyo advised all non-profit organizations and charities. "Then you're safe, because, whether it's stolen or not, it's not going on someone else's account."

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said characteristics of scam donations include unusually large donations, unusual donor demographics (for example donations made from outside the usual geographic location of most donors), grammatical errors in the refund requests, and the supposed closure of the donor account which then necessitates the refund be made to a different one.

Wasden and Ganyo both said you should not use contact information provided by the phony donor. Suspicious donations can also be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at: http://www.ic3.gov

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