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Red Cross warns of fund-raising scam

By Cindi Shank
Special to The SUN

Staff at Southwest Colorado Chapter American Red Cross has been alerted to a robo-call that was soliciting donations for the Red Cross and Salvation Army and has generated some concern by donors.

Recipients are instructed to call a phone number to donate for Oklahoma, but the number is disconnected.

Staff checked on this with nation headquarters and was assured the Red Cross is not behind the robo-call. The office of general counsel has been alerted (it happened around the country) and is investigating the source. Apparently, no donors were duped into making fraudulent donations.

This is an opportunity to remind the public about how they can be informed donors. The Better Business Bureau offers excellent general advice, and we encourage any donor to take the time to read it. The BBB has posted some information in response to the disaster in Oklahoma at www.bbb.org/us/article/better-business-bureau-urges-donor-caution-after-tornadoes-42005.

For its part, the Red Cross takes suspicious activity very seriously, and staff encourages anyone who has concerns to report suspicious fund-raising activity at www.redcross.org/scams so it can be investigated (and potentially prosecuted).

A few notes:

• When in doubt, go straight to the source. If you are uncertain about an e-mail or phone call, we’d rather have you donate directly through redcross.org or by calling (800)-REDCROSS, or the local chapter.

• The Red Cross is not soliciting donations by phone in response to the Oklahoma tornadoes, nor are we utilizing “street teams” to collect funds for the response.

• Our Fund Development staff personally calls donors to thank them. Our workers do not cold-call residents and ask for credit card or other information over the phone.

• When in doubt, a donor can decline a solicitation and call us directly. They can call the national (800) REDCROSS number or the local office at (303) 722-7474.

This story was posted on May 24, 2013.