hortly after Sept. 11, 2001, I began seeing collection boxes on various store counters in my neighborhood soliciting donations for a charity called "The Orphans of 9/11." Instead of dropping in my change, because I'm a consumer reporter, I called the charity to request their tax return.
Turns out that while the Orphans of 9/11 was a legitimate charity, they weren't collecting donations in my state and didn't use collection boxes at all. Someone had simply stolen their logo and fabricated the boxes. They'd been emptying them regularly for months, but I was the first person who attempted to verify they were legitimate.
When I called my local police department to report this despicable crime, they took a report but said they didn't have the manpower to stake out the boxes and catch the thief. Their advice: Go around my neighborhood and inform the merchants.
That's one simple scam I've uncovered in my decades reporting consumer news, but I've seen plenty more.
Want to learn the simplest methods to rip people off, or better yet, methods to avoid becoming a victim? That's what this week's "Money!" podcast is about. We're going to talk about at least six scams and how you can avoid them.
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