Santa Clarita residents should be aware of holiday scammers

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On Saturday, Tami Phillips noticed a man soliciting for donations outside of Walmart in Newhall for one of the missions on Los Angeles’ Skid Row.

As vice president and chief development officer for The Midnight Mission on L.A.’s Skid Row, she was interested in which organization he represented and its downtown location.

Phillips was surprised when he said his organization, First Step Transitional Living Foundation, was located at East 6th Street and San Julian Street in Los Angeles, directly behind where The Midnight Mission is located.

Because he had a Solicitation Permit, Phillips decided to research the organization on the California’s Attorney General’s website.  She found that the non-profit status of the organization was revoked in February 2016.

“People can give to anybody, but he misrepresented himself because he had a permit,” Phillips said.

With its revoked status, however, First Step Transitional Living Foundation “may not solicit charitable assets or engage in any activity until registration completed,” according to a Disallowance Letter sent to the organization by Attorney General Kamala Harris Feb. 5, 2016.

This encounter is just one of the many charity scams occurring in Los Angeles County.

On Dec. 6, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s issued a press release warning residents to only give to organizations that are going to the right cause.

In charity scams, con artists prey on people that are generous with their money and looking to contribute to an organization, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

People are encouraged to do their research on charitable organizations, not respond to emails or cold call and not give cash donations.

“There are many wonderful organizations in the valley and I hate to see monies being taken away from them,” Phillips said.  “Give to reputable organizations that you know are doing the work in either the Santa Clarita Valley or L.A.’s Skid Row.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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