United Way of Jackson County officials are warning residents not to be taken in by door-to-door scammers soliciting funds.
Three Medford residents called United Way on Monday to report two men had come to their doors illegally soliciting funds, said Dee Anne Everson, United Way executive director.
"United Way of Jackson County never goes door-to-door," Everson said. "Never. Ever. We don't do it."
Everson contacted Medford police, and advised the callers to do the same. Calls to the Medford Police Department were not immediately returned Monday.
United Way personnel put out a warning on their social media sites, urging people not to be fooled, and asking others to spread the word about the scam.
One responder on United Way's Facebook site said two scruffy men sporting white United Way T-shirts had come to her door asking for money, Everson said. The person stated she suspected the men were not legitimate, she added.
While United Way never solicits funds in this manner, other legitimate nonprofit organizations, including environmental groups, the March of Dimes and UNICEF, do neighborhood collection drives, Everson said.
"It makes it really hard for the legitimate organizations when there are scammers out there doing things like this," she said.
Everson encouraged donors to give generously to organizations they support but advised caution in the manner they donate. A person who claims to represent an organization should have legitimate information on that nonprofit.
"It should be on letterhead, and there should be brochures and authorized business cards," Everson said.
Credit cards, checks and cash can all be abused by unscrupulous scammers, she said.
"Times have changed. You have to be careful," Everson said. "I think I would thank the person for giving me the information, and let them know I will be making my donation online."
United Way in May reached its million-dollar fund-raising goal, ahead of schedule this year, thanks to a generous community, Everson said.
Half of United Way's resources are invested in "community change projects," such as the Meth Task Force, Hope Chest and the Child Abuse Network, she said.
The funds help supply operating costs for 53 programs run by a multitude of agencies. The agency helps those who struggle with poverty, addiction, domestic violence, disabilities and other hardships, Everson said, adding that the programs benefit "one out of two people who live in Jackson County."
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email email@example.com.