In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, relief organizations are collecting money to help people.
However, whenever there is a time of giving -- there is a time of scheming.
One such charitable fraud scheme involved 450,000 victims across the U.S. for $10 million.
"These people were greedy, but on top of being greedy, quite frankly, they were stupid, too," said Rich White, Former Eau Claire District Attorney.
The scammers would call up potential victims and try to solicit money by making false claims. One example: the con artists would tell potential victims that police officers have to buy their own bullet proof vests, and if they can't afford them, the officers are out of luck.
"And convince them that the little they had, the little they had to give, was going to do something good and unfortunately the opposite was true," said White.
Postal inspectors say just pennies on the dollar actually went to any charity. The rest of the money went in the pockets of the telemarketers.
"The owners of the company were living large. They had large homes, recreational vehicles, boats, water skis, and jet skis--things like that," said Dean Kowalefski, U.S. Postal Inspector.
Some advice: do not donate money over the phone unless you are sure you know the charity.
Instead, ask them to send you something in the mail.
"In this case and in many of the cases the unreputable telemarketers, if you ask for something in writing, you're not going to get anything," said Kowalefski
"They can't tolerate that practice," said White. "For them to be successful, they need to get the pressure sales they sell someone right then--or they are on to the next one."
Investigators say you should never donate cash.
If you are writing a check, be sure to write it out for the name of the organization -- never an individual.
We want to know about any problems that might put you, your family or neighbors at risk. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rescue crews are working through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood.More >>
Helmeted rescue workers raced Tuesday to complete the search for survivors and the dead in the Oklahoma City suburb where a mammoth tornado destroyed countless homes, cleared lots down to bare red earth and claimed 24 lives,...More >>
A new report says the sand mining and natural gas industries have given Wisconsin candidates nearly $758,000 dollars since 2007, with contributions spiking last year as sand mining took off in the state.More >>
A report says the sand mining & natural gas industries have given Wis. candidates nearly $758,000 since 2007, with contributions spiking last year as sand mining took off in the state.More >>
It was 13 years ago that a major storm swept thru St. Nazianz. The village suffered millions of dollars in damage. People there can relate to the recovery that lies ahead in Oklahoma. While the streetsMore >>
13 years ago a major storm struck St. Nazianz, destroying entire neighborhoods within seconds. The damage in Moore is on a larger scale, but the human journey is the same. More >>
The thought of children being killed by a tornado in Oklahoma while in their elementary school is heartbreaking for many, but it's especially hard for those who work in schools everyday. School leadersMore >>
The thought of children being killed by a tornado in Oklahoma while in their elementary school is heartbreaking for many, but it's especially hard for those who work in schools everyday. More >>
The devastation in Oklahoma brings back bad memories of the powerful F-5 tornado that tore through Fond du Lac County in 1996. Local emergency management officials say now more than ever we all need toMore >>
The devastation in Oklahoma brings back bad memories of the F-5 tornado that tore through Oakfield in 1996 and is a reminder of the need to be prepared for a future crisis. More >>
A woman, who was a Kaukauna High School volleyball star and a Green Bay man both relocated to Oklahoma and found themselves within miles of yesterday's devastating tornado. Sarah Biese grew up in Kaukauna,More >>
A woman who was a Kaukauna High School volleyball star and a Green Bay man both relocated to Oklahoma and found themselves within miles of yesterday's devastating tornado.More >>
The Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross says they've already had several calls from people volunteering to head to Moore, Oklahoma to join in the recovery effort. However, the Red Cross tells Action 2 NewsMore >>
Local relief organizations have a bigger need right now than volunteers, food, or blankets. They explain why money is the best aid you can give. More >>
Friends of the late Trish Waschbisch are organizing a fundraiser to help support the children she left behind. Last month the 45-year-old Peshtigo woman was found dead in her home. Her longtime boyfriend,More >>
Friends of murder victim Trish Waschbisch, who helped countless domestic violence victims, are organizing a fundraiser to help support the children she left behind.More >>
Small business owners are being urged to be on the lookout for companies posing as the Yellow Pages.The name "Yellow Pages" and the iconic walking fingers logo are not copyright or trademark protected.More >>
Small business owners are being urged to be on the lookout for companies posing as the Yellow Pages.More >>
A crowd lining around the building turned out at Lambeau Field Tuesday night for a taping of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."The new season doesn't debut until next week, but television crewsMore >>
The new season doesn't debut until next week, but television crews were filming the big reveal of an Appleton man's year-long weight-loss journey.More >>