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BBB warns of scammer targeting local charities across the U.S.

Makes huge donation, then asks for money back
Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 23:05:24-04

Peggie Sherry was excited when a man calling himself "Edward Gonzalez" contacted the cancer charity she runs to make a donation. She started Faces of Courage in 2004 after being diagnosed with cancer.

"His wife had died of cancer and to memorialize her struggle he wanted to donate to faces of courage," said Sherry.

The man said he planned to send her a check for $12,000. A few days later a check arrived in the mail for $35,000.

"We are a small charity and I looked at that check and I thought $35,000 we could send a hundred kids to camp for a weekend," said Sherry.

She looked closer at the check and noticed that it had some unusual markings. She called the bank it was associated with.

"I call the bank and find out the check was a fraud," said Sherry.

Sherry finds out another Tampa Bay area charity is also dealing with the same gentleman. He is asking them for part of the donation back, essentially trying to steal from a small charity. 

The FBI is investigating both claims made by the Tampa bay charities. 

Authorities with the Better Business Bureau are issuing a warning about the scam, because charities in Virginia have fallen victim to the scammer. Bryan Ogelsby with the Better Business Bureau said the scam was one of the oldest in the book.

"The overpayment scam has been happening for many years to many people, were now noticing a trend where they are going after local charities," said Ogelsby.

Sherry said whoever is behind the scam needs to be stopped.

"It's like they are the tin man they have no heart," said Sherry.