Scam Pulls at Your Heart-Strings - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/1/04

Scam Pulls at Your Heart-Strings

The Make A Wish Foundation, has been putting smiles on for more than two decades. Here in West Texas, the Texas Plains Chapter of Make A Wish has been granting wishes like these, trips to Disneyworld, Nascar races, and new computers. But now, scams are resurfacing in the name of Make A Wish. "I think there are businesses in Lubbock, that took part in that not knowing."

Angie Graham is the Make A Wish volunteer coordinator for the Lubbock office. She's talking about a chain letter, that tugs on your heart-strings. Graham received the letter in the Make A Wish office forwarded from another Lubbock business. The letter reads, "To whom it may concern: Craig is a 7-year-old and has a brain tumor. He has very little time to live. He contacted the Make A Wish Foundation expressing his desire to have an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for collecting the most company business cards."

Graham says, "It's the whole sad story of a little boy with a brain tumor that doesn't have much time to live. I mean who wouldn't fall into that." The problem? Graham says, "None of it is true." The letter is a chain letter. If you receive it do not forward it. Graham says, "The whole purpose of the letter was to send it from business to business and you put business cards whatever ones you have in an envelope and send it to the next business of your choice."

The letter is based on a real-wish by a 9-year-old, who wanted to collect greeting cards. But that child full filled his wish in 1990 using a different organization. Since that time, the scam has started using different variations of the child's name. Graham says, "It started out as greeting cards and over the years, whatever he is collecting has changed. Right now it's business cards."

The bottom line, the Make A Wish Foundation does not fulfill wishes this way. Nor does it collect money this way as another e-mail chain claims. Graham says, "If anyone were to receive something through the mail, it would have to have our logo on the letter."

Phone or door to door solicitations however will not be legitimate. Graham adds, "Someone is calling and getting donations for Make A Wish over the phone and if you were to get that call. That's not legitimate." Before you donate or take part in a wish, make sure you know it's legitimate. Graham says, "If there are any questions, they need to call us and ask us about it."

Graham encourages businesses or groups to get involved with the Adopt A Wish program. You can select a wish, help fund it and get to know the child through the process. To learn more about this program and other opportunities, call the Make A Wish office in Lubbock at (806) 785-9474 or you can go to their website by ( clicking here ). The national foundation office can be found by ( clicking here ).

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