September 12, 2007 - Posted at 7:03 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO-A few jonesboro residents recently got a surprise when they picked up the phone.
It was someone saying they were with the Jonesboro Police, and that they needed monetary donations.
"That is not the case. There are not any law-enforcement agencies soliciting anyone for any kind of donation at this time," said Lt. Rick Elliott.
Considering the Police Department is a City funded program, any call of this nature should be considered suspicious.
"There's no reason the Police Department should ever be contacting anybody and asking for donations. If there ever was a need for something like that it would be in the news media and there would be publicity involved where it could be verified," said Elliott.
He says the only agency that might make a call of this nature is the Fraternal Order of Police, but even they would be able to provide documentation.
"If anybody calls about any other kind of donations for police, those are not legitimate. We ask the person to hang up on the person that's calling them," said Elliott.
And a Jonesboro man didn't hang up, but he did know how to handle another scam.
Mark Penn was getting ready to leave the parking lot of Wallace and Owens when he was approached by a man who claimed his child was in the hospital and that he needed money to pay for the prescriptions.
"I told him, I'll just follow you to Wal-Mart and I'll pay the pharmacist myself. He said, "okay, you won't run off and leave me will you?" I said, "no." As I was getting in my truck he basically ran off and left me," said Penn.
Penn even drove up the street just to make sure of what was going on.
"I went ahead and went to Wal-Mart. I didn't find him, his wife, or child at the pharmacy...nobody," said Penn.
So in his case, his smarts out-smarted what he calls a crook.
"I certainly don't care for it. I'd rather somebody just come up and ask me for money, and tell me they are going to buy beer or cigarettes or something with it, than to sit there and lie to me. If they're begging money under false pretenses, that's not different than stealing as far as I'm concerned," said Penn.
We talked with some of the local stores who told us this is not the first time this person has told the same story to customers in their parking lots.
They say if someone approaches you call the police and let a store manager know.
As far as the Police Department phone scam, they say the best thing to do is ask for documentation and proof of who you are talking to.