Eye On Boise

Attorney General warns of donation scam targeting Idaho non-profits

Idaho non-profits are being targeted in an overpayment scam, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warns. Typically, the scammer makes a very large donation to the non-profit online, like $5,000, then contacts the organization to say the large donation was a mistake - intended, for example, to have been $500 - and asks for a refund of the difference. Non-profits taken in by the scam end up without either the "refund" or the original donation. “My office has warned individual Idahoans for a number of years to be wary of offers to overpay for advertised goods or services," Wasden said. "More recently, we have received reports of a variation on that theme targeting non-profits that receive donations online.” Wasden today issued a "consumer alert" warning Idaho non-profits about the scam; click below for his full announcement.

STATE OF IDAHO

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

LAWRENCE WASDEN


 

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2013

 


 

--- CONSUMER ALERT ---

 

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.

 

- END -

 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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