Number 6 of the Scams of Christmas: Coal-Deserving Charities

As you can see, I’m extremely lucky.

The holidays are the season of giving. Unfortunately, there are those who think charity begins at their homes and goes no further.

On a large scale, online scammers set up fake charitable websites designed to collect donations and personal information for those who visit the site. However, sometimes, that conman is waiting for you at your corner market.

According to this report from necn, police arrested Gary L. Fincher, 52, after he set up a table in front of a local grocery story to solicit donations. Perhaps he crossed the wrong path, because in a stroke of bad luck—or judgement—Fincher solicited a donation from an off-duty policeman who’d seen a similar scheme the previous month.

Fincher was at a table covered in flags with homeless veteran pamphlets and business cards wearing a baseball hat with ‘veteran’ above the bill. Fincher sat quietly as he collected donations.

Following investigation it was determined the charity [Help for Homeless Vets] did not exist.

The culprit was a veteran, sort of. He did spend 29 days in the US Army in 1980 before he flunked out of basic training. But it's hard to understand his claim of homelessness. When they froze his bank account to investigate the fraud, he had over $10,000 in it.

Make sure your donations go to a legitimate cause by always donating to reputable organizations. If you find a new charity, remember that the Better Business Bureau rates charities as well as businesses.

Next on the 12 Scams of Christmas, we're counting down those 5… gold… er, grumpy greeting cards.


Terry Ambrose writes the McKenna mystery series set in Hawaii. They're filled with snark, scams, and trouble in paradise.

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