Ventura County residents asked to contribute money to law-enforcement advocacy groups should first check with the Sheriff's Department to be certain the pitch is not a scam, an activist group says.
Citizens for a Safe Ventura County, a group fighting for an extension of the half-cent sales tax, has warned residents that bogus organizations with similar names might call and ask for donations.
The real Citizens for a Safe Ventura County is conducting a telephone campaign to drum up support for the half-cent sales tax, which is on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The group does not try to raise funds over the phone.
The last time Citizens for a Safe Ventura County undertook a phone campaign--to encourage residents to demand full law-enforcement funding--a fake group appropriated its name and solicited contributions, said Otto G. Stoll, president of Citizens for a Safe Ventura County.
"That caused quite a stir," he said. "I want to be sure people know we're not asking for money."
If residents receive phone calls asking for contributions to support the half-cent sales tax, which is on the ballot as Proposition 172, they should call the Ventura County Deputy Sheriff's Assn. at 987-9785 to verify the solicitor's legitimacy.
Residents can also call Citizens for a Safe Ventura County at 800-760-STAR.
"There have been other scams where people asked for money for police publications that were probably fictitious," said Lt. Bill Montijo, a watch commander at the East Valley Sheriff's Station. "It's a legitimate concern."