But one supposed business that is asking other businesses for money to support the troops is doing more harm than good.
The Better Business Bureau is warning that an unnamed company is asking businesses near military depots and installations to sell ads in a “CFNR Guide” or “Referral Guide” to support the troops.
The scammers hand out fliers and call businesses telling them that advertising with the “guide” will help the military.
So far, the scam has affected one real estate business near the Corpus Christi Army Depot, but several other businesses near the depot have been contacted by the scammers as well as some business near Fort Lee in Virginia.
“The one business didn’t do their research and fell victim to it,” BBB Communications Manager Jarrod Wise said. “Unfortunately they paid with a check, and they can’t really trace where it’s coming from. It’s difficult to get their money back.”
Wise said that if you are unsure of a business payment, it’s best to pay by credit card, because the charges are easier to dispute. Checks can be cashed before a person is even made aware of a scam, Wise said.
But above all, Wise said to do your research first.
“Don’t necessarily trust that they’re part of the military,” Wise said. “Do your research and check. It could be fake, it could be real, but do your research.”
Corpus Christi Army Depot Public Affairs Specialist Brigitte Rox said that they were made aware of people being scammed around one month ago and immediately reported to the BBB.
Rox also said that the depot’s own legal teams are investigating the issue.
“The issue is currently under investigation to see how we can resolve it,” Rox said. “It’s unfortunate. Our hearts do go out for the victims of the scam.”
Rox said that the army depot would never ask for money.
“It’s good people out there are willing to support CCAD, but we would never ask for any money,” Rox said. “We hope it works out for (the victims).”
As a reporting agency, the BBB has tried to investigate the scam but has had a difficult time tracking the scammers down, Wise said.
Multiple calls have been made to the CFNR business phone, but Wise said no one has ever picked up.
The Odessa American also made two calls to the CFNR phone, each time greeted by a voice mail.
“Scam artists are really good about covering their tracks. Law enforcement search for a long time and have trouble tracking them down,” Wise said. “That’s why they do what they do.”
©2012 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)
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