CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
(208) 334-2424 or
Toll-free at (800) 432-3545

Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: November 21, 2013

Wasden Warns Non-Profits of Donation Scam

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today warned Idaho non-profit organizations to be on the lookout for overpayment donation scams.

"My office has warned individual Idahoans for a number of years to be wary of offers to overpay for advertised goods or services. More recently, we have received reports of a variation on that theme targeting non-profits that receive donations online," Wasden said.

"The scam works like this: the thief uses a credit card or online payment account such as PayPal to make a large donation through the non-profit's online donation page," Wasden said. "He then contacts the organization and says the amount was a mistake. For example, a $5,000 donation was meant to be only a $500 donation. He asks the organization to refund the difference, typically to a different account than the one used to make the donation. Sometimes the scammer claims the original account had to be closed for security or other reasons."

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 encourages any non-profit organization that receives questionable donations of this nature to contact their credit card processor, the company that issued the card or account from which the donation was made, and, if known, the issuer of the card to which the "refund" was requested. Do 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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