People target local churches to make money

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Ministries in the Treasure Valley are known for helping people in need. And now some people are trying to take advantage of that.

The Better Business Bureau is getting reports of callers trying to get money from churches and charities.

"Somebody will call and ask for help and want the money but won't want to appear," said Robb Hicken, spokesman for the BBB.

Recently, one Boise pastor got a call from a man who said he was a minister in Georgia The man said his niece was in Boise, stranded and in need of help. Then he asked the local pastor to transfer some money to her. The pastor did it, then tried to meet the girl and found out she was never there.

Boise Rescue Mission spokeswoman Jean Lockhart says she also gets these kinds of calls. She warns that it's very important to be weary of them.

The Boise Rescue Mission says it's happy to give to anyone in need of help, but people have to meet with someone from the Mission in person, not just call them over the phone.

The BBB agrees that physically meeting the caller is the best way to avoid getting robbed.

"Let people know that hey, help is here, and it's available, but we would really like to see your face instead of just handing out money," Hicken said.

Feeling hurried to hand over the cash is another tip that someone may be targeting the non-profit.

Lockhart encourages all ministries to take the time to research and make sure they're giving to a real cause.

"If someone scams you out of $50 or $100, that's $50 or $100 that could go to really helping people," Lockhart said.