Burbank residents must learn to always take a number, say police and fire officials.
A man successfully solicited an unidentified Burbank business in September for a fraudulent $50-donation to a Burbank City Police organization.
The man, described as white, 5 foot, 8 inches tall and around 50 years old with a disheveled appearance, personally picked up the $50 check.
About two weeks later, the business, located on the 2500 block of West Burbank Boulevard, received a similar call from a supposed Burbank police officer to contribute to a firefighter relief organization, authorities said.
When a man with a similar appearance arrived to pick up the check, the business refused to give him a check, believing the donation to be a scam.
On Oct. 1, the business became aware of a scam after receiving a call from its bank that the check was deposited in an account for disabled veterans.
Two other check withdrawals from the business' account had been deposited into the same account for disabled veterans, police said. The business confirmed the additional two checks, also for $50, were not issued.
There was a similar scam a year ago, said Sgt. Robert Quesada of the Burbank Police Department.
But as in that case, no suspects have been apprehended and there is no known connection with the most recent scam.
Both the Burbank Fire and Police departments issued warnings to residents to be wary of any requests for donations on their behalf.
"No matter what the call is, ask to take down their number and confirm with us," said Lew Stone, president of the local firefighter's union. "They are going to hang up if they aren't a legitimate cause."
The departments each have one major fundraising effort per year. Firefighters raise money for Jerry's Kids, a nonprofit support organization for children with Muscular Dystrophy, and police solicit via mail in March for a variety of programs.
"We actually get many calls asking about whether or not a fundraiser is legitimate," said Lezlie Borgese, office manager for the Burbank Police Officers Assn. "Many are, but the BPOA does not solicit by telephone."
Although some organizations may not be out to scam residents out of their money, donating to the city's police association is the only way to ensure the funds go directly into the community, police said.
Both departments also recommend making the donations in person and to not allow third party to pick up a donation.