News release from Arlington County:
The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about a fundraising phone scam targeting County residents.
Residents have contacted the police department after receiving unsolicited phone calls from individual(s) claiming to be with the Arlington County Police Department and requesting donations to benefit disabled and underprivileged children. The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that representatives of this agency have never and will never call to solicit funds or collect fines.
What to do
When approached or contacted by a charitable solicitor, follow these practices to reduce the likelihood of becoming the victim of a scam:
- Request to see the solicitor’s identification.
- Research the cause and organization you are considering donating to.
- Ask questions of the solicitor such as:
- whether the caller is from a telemarketing company or works directly for the charity
- what programs are conducted by the charity
- how much of your donation will be used for a charitable program
- how much the telemarketer guarantees to the charity.
- See it in writing. Ask the caller to send you information about the charity, including its annual report or a brochure outlining its accomplishments.
- Check an organization’s reliability by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline – Handled by the Office of the Attorney General, VA toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042.
- To find out more about the charitable organization and how much your contribution will be used for charitable purposes, call the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs (OCRP) within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804-786-1343.
Citizens should be suspicious of any unsolicited phone calls which request funds or claim that you owe money. Never use a phone number provided to you from the caller to verify their credibility. Do not provide personal information such as bank account numbers to anyone over the phone.