Scammers prey on police fundraisers

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The Dallas Police Association is warning people about scammers trying to take advantage of a tragic situation.

They say there are reports of unauthorized people claiming to collect money for the family of fallen Officer Rogelio Santander.

Officer Santander was killed in the line of duty during a shooting at a Dallas Home Depot Tuesday.

His partner, Crystal Almeida, and Loss Prevention Officer Scott Painter were also shot, but are recovering in the hospital.

"Every time we have a tragedy in Dallas, someone is going to try to find a way to try to make money," said Frederick Frazier, Chairman of the Assist the Officer Foundation and 23-year veteran with the Dallas Police Department.

Since the tragedy last Tuesday, the Assist the Officer Foundation has been collecting funds for Santander's family and the families of those injured.

But along with the goodwill and public support of these officers has come scams as well.

"It's easy money. They're doing it because it's easy money," said Frazier.

Frazier says the organization has already received multiple reports of unauthorized solicitors claiming to collect donations or calling for donations to help the injured and fallen officers.

"It's really hard to track down these individuals because they come out of the woodwork. They see a very unique opportunity to make fundraising money for their own pockets and they have no affiliation with any of the fundraising organizations that are actually doing it," said Frazier.

Frazier says A.T.O. will never use telemarketers, send out mailers, or collect money in buckets, unless at a sanctioned A.T.O. event, like a recent blood drive which was advertised on their social media pages and website.

And if you're suspicious, start asking questions.

"You are going to find out in your own mind how legitimate things are when you start asking questions," said Frazier.

"A.T.O. says the best way to give is online through their website.

But if you want to give another way by hosting a fundraiser, contact them first.

Despite reports of scammers, A.T.O. says they're grateful for those who have been legitimately giving back.

"We want to say thank you to them because they've always had our back. When we go down, everyone is right behind us and they're pushing us forward," said Frazier.

Frazier says if you see a situation that seems questionable, contact the organization directly to verify and report it.

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