ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) — On Thursday, St. George Police Department warned citizens of charitable fund scams after they discovered a man asking for donations for a fake organ transplant.

On April 29, a man in the Costco area was holding a sign and selling flowers, asking for donations. He claimed he was helping a young girl get an organ transplant, and held a large sign of a young juvenile female. However, all of his claims were fraudulent.

According to the SGPD, the man admitted that he was not collecting donations, but was collecting money for himself, and had printed the photo of the girl off the internet. He even admitted he was not actually a St. George resident.

“Unfortunately, there are also some organizations that may not be legitimate or may be using your money in ways you did not intend,” St. George Police Dept said in a Facebook post. “Before donating to any charity, it is important to do your research and make sure the charity is reputable and it is using your money in a responsible way.”

Here are some tips from St. George Police Dept. to verify it’s a valid charity:

  1. Check the charity’s website:
    • Look for information about its mission and how it will use your donation.
  2. Check with the Better Business Bureau:
    • The BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance evaluates charities to make sure they meet certain standards.
  3. Ask questions:
    • Talk to the charity’s representatives and ask questions about how your donation will be used.
  4. Check online reviews:
    • Check online reviews to see what other people are saying about the charity.
  5. Donate directly:
    • If possible, donate directly to the charity. Avoid giving money to third-party fundraisers.

By following those tips, you can make sure your donation goes to a valid charity, and that they will use your money correctly. St. George Police Dept. said, “Thank you for your generosity!”