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Office Warns Of Scammers Targeting Non-profits

The Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection is warning non-profit organizations of scammers who are targeting them with fake donations and then asking for a portion of the money back, Attorney General Austin Knudsen has announced.

OCP has received reports that individual(s) under fake pseudonyms including, ‘Barrington Blythe,’ are making donations to non-profit organizations on behalf of a recently deceased family member for $191,250 with fraudulent cashier’s checks. The checks appear to be legitimate as they come from a US Bank account, but once the checks are received and cashed by the non-profit organization, the scammer follows up, asking for $91,000 of the donation back claiming accountant error hoping the non-profit will send the requested portion of the money back to the scammer before realizing that the check is fraudulent.

Montanans should keep in mind that this is also a common scam that fraudsters use to steal money from individuals.

The Office of Consumer Protection offers a few tips to Montanans and non-profit organizations to avoid falling for this scam: Do your due diligence; research the individual(s) or entity named on any check you receive in the mail.

Never return money to an individual immediately after cashing a check.

Verify all donors by asking for multiple forms of identification before accepting donations.

Reach out to neighboring organizations to find out whether they have received similar communication, and always trust your gut.

To report an attempted scam, use OCP’s convenient online reporting form here. You can also call to speak with an investigator at 800481-6896 or 406-444-4500, visit OCP’s homepage at, or call your local law enforcement agency.

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