Local NonProfit Agency Warning Against Scams After Close Call

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OZARK -- The Dale County Rescue Mission nearly lost thousands of dollars to a scam during last month's historic winter storm.

A man called the mission's executive director, Charles Gann, claiming he was a food distributor. He proceeded to explain to Gann that he was from a Mobile, Ala. office and a truck had overturned due to bad roads. The caller said his director gave him the opportunity to either donate the food to a nonprofit or throw it all away.

"He asked, are you a 501C3 and I said, "yes," Gann said. "He said, 'Well, I've got some good news for you."

After Gann gave him three different credit card numbers, more red flags started to show.

Gann said he did not think this was a scam initially because he has received this type of help in the past.

"Over the years, we've had other storms, the trucking companies will call us and last year we got a full truck load of green beans," Gann said.

Fortunately, Gann called his credit card company soon after falling victim to the scam and they were able to cancel his cards. Since then, he has found out that his card has been charged $5,000 during six attempts from scam artists.

For this particular scam, it seems the caller and/or company is targeting nonprofit agencies and churches.

According to the Attorney General's Office, some tips for credit card holders include:

Do not give out your social security, credit or bank card numbers to anyone you do not know and trust.
Be cautious where you discard financial information such as charge receipts and bills. Shred or otherwise thoroughly destroy these materials when you are discarding them.
Keep a close watch on billing statements and check your credit record.
Close your account if you believe you fall victim to a scam and create secure passwords on new accounts.
Notify the Social Security Administration if your social security number has been compromised. Check to make sure the record of your reported earnings is accurate. The Social Security Administration may be contacted toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. Information is available through the administration's web page at www.ssa.gov.