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Voice of the Consumer: Tragic shooting leads to calls from fake charities

By: Katie Pelton, KKTV 11 News
February 11, 2018 Updated: February 12, 2018 at 12:50 pm
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photo - Katie Pelton
Katie Pelton 

It has been a tough week for our community, and I know many of you want to give back to our local law enforcement following the tragic shooting that killed a deputy. The problem is scammers are waiting to prey on your good deeds. Our 11 Call for Action Team tells me they are hearing about an uptick in scam calls collecting money for fake police charities. This comes following the heartbreaking loss of three Colorado deputies in a matter of weeks, including El Paso County sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick.

A couple viewers reached out to our newsroom because they received robocalls from charities asking them for money for police and first responders. Our local agencies are not making cold calls to ask people for donations.

The scam calls aren't new, but they are certainly more prevalent right now. Last spring, I warned you about a similar scam call from someone claiming to be with a local police department asking for money.

"It definitely had my interest at first," Joseph Chambers told me last spring. "Essentially, what it said was that they were with the Colorado Springs Police Department trying to collect donations for a fund, for like a foundation for family members of fallen officers."

The caller said they were collecting money for families of fallen officers. "They were wanting to know if they could send me a donation packet that I could send back to them," said Chambers. Thankfully, he reached out to the Police Department and they told him it was a scam, so he didn't lose any money.

The Federal Trade Commission lists several tips to make sure your donations are going to the right cause. The FTC warns just because an organization has the words "police" or "firefighter" in their name, it doesn't mean police or firefighters are members of the group. Some organizations claim they have ties with local agencies but that doesn't mean your money will be used in our community. The FTC also says that most solicitations for police and fire organizations are made by paid professional fundraisers.

If you get a scam call, just hang up the phone. You can report the scam number to the FTC at the website www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. Make sure to ask how your donation will be used. Also, don't be afraid to decline when someone asks you for a donation.

There are several ways you can donate to the family of Deputy Flick and to the other injured victims of the shooting. We have a full list on our 11 News website, www.kktv.com. You can donate to the Flick family at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Foundation at 1980 Dominion Way, Suite 200 in Colorado Springs. You can also donate online through their website www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/deputy-micah-flick.

I know how much our community is hurting right now. We all share in the grief and heartache. It's so incredible to see the outpouring of support following this tragedy. Let's just make sure your good intentions aren't spoiled by scammers.

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