Lawton charities warn residents of holiday scams

Lawton charities warn residents of holiday scams

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - While the holidays put many people in the giving spirit, scammers can see this as a perfect time to take advantage of those wanting to donate to local charities.

7News spoke to officials at some of those charitable organizations that receive donations through reliable fundraisers.

Before pulling out your wallet to donate, officials at legitimate organizations say you should do your research and recommend you call the charity yourself and ask questions so you don't end up getting scammed.

"It's sad this day and age that you would have to because everybody wants to help people that are hungry or people that are sick," said Jeri Mosiman, Executive Director at the Lawton Food Bank. "We all have soft spots and we all want to help when the help is needed."

Executive Director Mosiman said fortunately they've never been part of a scam that they know of. She is aware many people like to do their own fundraisers to benefit the Food Bank, but she wants everyone to contact the them before hand.

"So in case someone calls and says, 'hey I saw someone outside of a store doing a food drive for you was that legitimate' and I can say 'great, isn't that wonderful' or I can say 'yes' or I can say 'I don't know, this is the first that I have heard of it,'" Mosiman said.

She said also asking detailed questions will make the scammers nervous and easy to point out.

"Ask them where the food is going or what the money is for," said Mosiman. "Ask for specifics. Things that maybe you already know the answer to so 'oh this is going to the Lawton Food Bank, do you know anybody there?' They should know a name, location or something."

Mosiman hopes anyone who wants to donate is cautious and that no one takes advantage of the kindness of strangers this holiday season.

"If you give to someone and you find out it goes into their pockets as opposed to going to that charitable organization then you most likely will be hesitant to ever give again," said Mosiman. "There are so many legitimate agencies out there that are all trying to make the community a better place for us all."

Lawton Police also ask that if you hear or see any scams happening in our community to please contact Crime Stoppers at 580-355-INFO.

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