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Scam Targeting Shelters & Rescues

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I heard about this scam via an email with a copy of the letter below from a friend at Petloss, who heard about it from a friend on a Yahoo group. I emailed the shelter that sent out this warning originally, and this is part of the reply I received from them:

We would welcome this info being posted widely. This was a very eye-opening experience and is apparently fairly common. Charitable organizations are perfect targets since they depend upon donations and generally accept checks without question.

The following website has very complete info regarding this type of scam http://www.fraud.org/tips/internet/fakecheck.htm

Here's the letter about this specific scam attempt, sent out by C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue, a shelter in Springfield, Missouri.

We are Castaway Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E. ANIMAL RESCUE) - AND WE
WANT TO WARN YOU OF A SCAM. Any shelter could well be targeted-we are a
licensed facility located in SW Missouri and have been "in business" for
over 15 years.

Recently we received an e-mail from an individual saying he was in
California and would like to send us a donation for all our good works.
We wrote him back saying he could donate via PayPal through
our website, mail a check to our PO Box or adoption center in
Springfield, Missouri. So far so good. We received a cashiers check
written on Washington Mutual Bank for $5,000. Of course we were
thrilled to pieces-we sure could use the money. The check was deposited.

A few days later, we received an e-mail from the donor saying he was so
sorry, but his accountant had made a terrible error and the amount
should have been for $500 and not $5,000 - would we please mail or wire
back $4,500. Of course the red flags went up and we contacted the bank
immediately; they said it sounded like a scam. The real kicker is that a
few days later, our bank called to say it was a
forged check. It was returned to us marked `Refer to Maker-Suspect
Counterfeit' You are responsible for monies deposited in your account!
So the cashiers check goes through and you think it's good because the
cash is deposited.

It's only a few days later that the check is discovered to be forged.
Shelters are perfect targets for this scam although it is horrifying
to think that some low-life would try to cheat a no-kill animal shelter.
This individual e-mailed us several times expressing concern that we had
not wired the money back - it was to be wired to a number and the e-mail
was on Yahoo.

We suspect he was located outside the country - he said he was "on leave
in the Republic of Ireland" - well if you spoke English, you'd say you
were on vacation or on holiday and you would just say "Ireland!" The FBI
has been informed, but frankly the amount was not large enough for them
to bother with-we have also notified Yahoo. Please, please forward this
e-mail to every shelter you know.
If this creep just got one check returned, he is making a good living.

Thank you.

Mary Crawford, President

Please help them get this warning out to other shelters and rescues. My friend's posted it on the Petloss board, and I've posted it on my boards in the rescue forums and hope this is the correct forum for it here at the Cat Site.

post #2 of 2
What scum! How could anyone think that was ok to do, or even have the heart to just forget it ever happened as long as you STOLE money from a non-profit organization. People make me sick!
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