7On your side: Salvation "House" linked to vacant building - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Salvation "House" linked to vacant building

The efforts of the local Salvation Army are well documented. You can see what they do in the area. In fact, they partner with KPLC-TV for Community Christmas.

But beware! It seems someone may be trying to use their name to cash in. The local Salvation Army is located at 3020 Legion Street where there's a church, shelter, office and drop off boxes for donations. But a couple of weeks ago, Major David Craddock discovered someone is using a similar name to seek money donations from local people and businesses.

"Every Christmas season you'll get somebody who tries to defraud the public who will use the Salvation Army's name and try to do something to get money for themselves," said Craddock.

Craddock found out when the post office brought undelivered mail from a so-called "Salvation House" to the real Salvation Army.

"Some of their mail has been returned and because it got returned to us, we were suspicious having the name so closely related to our name," said Craddock.

"Salvation House" claims to be working to help shelter homeless veterans, but the address the mailing gives is 3034 Legion Street, next door. It's the old bus station which appears to be vacant.

"We're very concerned that people might be receiving this mail and would think that they're giving to the Salvation Army on Legion Street which is where our address is, 3020 Legion Street, and in fact, the money is going either into someone's pocket or to something that we can't verify as being an existing shelter," said Craddock.

And when you call the number on the letter, it goes to voice mail. "Hello," says the female voice on the answering machine. "You have reached the Salvation House, a homeless shelter for veterans. We are unable to take your call at the moment, but if you'll leave your name, number and a brief message, after the tone, we'll be sure to return your call as soon as possible.  Thank you and have a blessed day." But thus far, calls have not been returned to Craddock.

As well, the website listed goes to a blank page. Craddock doesn't know if anyone sent "Salvation House" money.  He hopes not.

"I've not received a call back to give me an explanation as to who they are or try to find some information about them," he said.

Craddock points out legitimate mailings from the Salvation Army can be verified any number of different ways. People can call or drop by. Plus, he says all mailings from the Salvation Army display their red shield and provide local contact information. He says people should be especially leery of anyone initiating a fundraising telephone call and asking for a credit card number because he says the Salvation Army does not operate that way.

For more information on how to make sure your charitable giving is money well spent, click HERE.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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