'Deceased baby' solicitation a scam, says AG - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

'Deceased baby' solicitation a scam, says AG

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - You've probably seen them at major intersections or in bank parking lots soliciting for charitable donations, but consumers are now being told to beware as some of these individuals are running an outright scam. And the Attorney General's Office is stepping forward to weed out the fakes.

Several reports have been made in recent weeks to the AGO office about an individual approaching residents for monetary donations. Agency spokesman Eric Palacios said, "The person behind it claimed that he needed money to fly over the body of his deceased daughter from the mainland and bring the body to Guam for proper burial, and unfortunately some people out of the kindness of their hearts did give various amounts of cash."

Palacios says concerns began when someone in the community gave the solicitor a check. The problem was that the solicitor requests they take back the check and give cash instead.  "It kind of raised a red flag with the person who issued the check," he continued.  "But they did turn around and give some cash."

Palacios says more suspicion was raised after the solicitor was reluctant to reveal a lot of details about his situation. That's when calls came flooding in to the AG's Office asking to look into what is now confirmed to be a scam. Palacios says they have a suspect in mind, but has not yet release his identity, as he says the investigation is ongoing.  "A name was provided to us, but we are still investigating the situation and definitely we are looking to try and find the person responsible for this," he said.

He adds that no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed as of yet regarding the case, adding that they have not been able to recover any of the donated funds. While Palacios admits there are a few legitimate solicitors, he urges the community to take extreme caution.  "Don't settle for, 'Hey, would you like to donate for this cause?'.  Ask questions - like would you be able to give a receipt that states what exactly you're asking donations for, are you guys registered with the Department of Revenue & Taxation?"

KUAM News also received a complaint this week regarding this case saying they knew of at least two people who gave this guy money over the last three months.

Palacios adds that if at all possible, do not donate cash, and write a check instead, do not give into pressure when it comes to donations and if the solicitor refuses to provide written information about their charitable organization, refuse their request for donation.

If you or anyone you know has received suspicious requests for charitable donations, you're urged to contact the AG's Consumer Protection Unit at 475-3324, Extension 171.

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