January 14, 2010
Contact: Melissa DelaCalzada, San Diego Hospice
619-278-6139 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Beware of Scam Artists Portraying Charity Workers
San Diego Hospice among the groups being targeted
During the holidays and in tragic circumstances like the current disaster in Haiti, people reach out to help others in need, often through their favorite charitable organizations. While it is this generosity that makes it possible for nonprofits to provide their services, scam artists eagerly take advantage of this opportunity.
Frequently, individuals falsely portray themselves as representatives of charities, asking for funds to help support their work. One example currently being seen by San Diego Hospice is a woman who portrays herself as a Hospice employee or Nurse and asks individuals to assist her. She sometimes uses the name “Michelle or Melissa Park” and claims to have run out of gas and asks for money or a ride to a destination. She asks the individual to call San Diego Hospice to verify her story, but most people assume she is honest and help her out.
Victims describe the woman as medium to heavy build; 5'4" to 5'6", reddish-blonde or chestnut hair, big-chested, appears to be olive-skinned, wears make-up and is usually well-dressed.
“Our employees would never ask someone on the street for money, using the San Diego Hospice name, for personal matters,” said spokesperson Melissa DelaCalzada. “It’s important for the public to be aware that there are those out there who will take advantage of charitable situations and use false information to get funds for their own purposes. One should always beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.”
DelaCalzada asks the public to report these types of solicitations to law enforcement immediately.