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Charity warns of telephone scheme

February 16, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

Charity warns of telephone scheme

Four local people already had written checks on Monday morning before verifying that their money was truly going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

It wasn't, according to a foundation official.

Officials at the national foundation, which fulfills the wishes of children under the age of 18 who are diagnosed with life-threatening or terminal illnesses, are warning area residents of a telephone scam being conducted in the area.

Reports have come in from residents in 32 counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, claiming callers identifying themselves as representatives of the foundation are asking for donations.

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"The first red flag is we never call on the phone to ask for money," said Sharon Yoak Turner, executive director of the foundation in the Morgantown, W.Va., office.

The charity raises money through different locally run fund-raisers and a national mailing, Turner said. It's against the foundation's national and state charters to use the telephone to solicit money, she said.

The foundation has offices in Morgantown, Cumberland, Md., and Baltimore.

Turner said people should be alert when the so-called foundation representatives ask them to send money to places like Texas and Georgia.

Some of the calls have targeted families of children who have been granted a wish and residents who live around the families who are likely to be familiar with the situation, Turner said.

For more information, call the Make-A-Wish Foundation toll free at 1-888-808-9474.

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