Lake Charles, LA –
“This is a trying time for law enforcement and the support we have received from our community has been overwhelming, and for that we are very appreciative,” says Sheriff Tony Mancuso. “Unfortunately, during times of heartache and need, there are individuals that prey on the compassion of others and will try to take advantage of people’s generosity. It's not just naïve and gullible people who fall victim to scams; all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at one time or another.”
Sheriff Mancuso also says, “I want the residents of our community to be aware that the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office never makes requests for money or donations. You may receive a letter in the mail once a year signed by me for the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association Honorary Membership Program (LSHMP). But the LSHMP never raises funds through telephone solicitation.” Sheriff Mancuso continues, “If you want to donate to what you believe is a legitimate charity, I want you to keep the following tips in mind before you donate.”
Ask for written information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fundraiser will provide you information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used.
Call the Charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you may be dealing with a fraudulent organization.
Refuse high-pressure sales tactics. A legitimate charitable organization will be more than happy to give you time to consider your contribution. Additionally they will provide you with any written materials you request and will answer any questions you many have.
Be wary of charities offering to send an individual to pick up your donation. This type of offer is not typical of legitimate charities and may be a tip-off to a scam.
Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
Use secure payment options when making contributions. Do not give your personal or financial information to an individual who solicits contributions. Doing so may make you vulnerable to identity theft.
If anyone believes they may have been victimized by these scammers, please contact the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office at 491-3605.