PITTSBURGH — Lions Clubs across Pennsylvania are being advised to “be extra vigilant” concerning bank accounts and transactions after thieves targeted at least two clubs in the state.
A Facebook post from the Pennsylvania State Council of Lions Clubs’ acting administrator reports that incidents have been reported in club chapter 14-B, which serves Allegheny County, as well as 14-E, which serves Westmoreland County.
On Monday, Channel 11 spoke with Dr. Kamal Gella, the district governor for 14-B. Gella explained that scammers have managed to duplicate the service organization’s checks. The thief or thieves also managed to get a cashier’s check with the organization’s account numbers.
With the ongoing investigation, he did not want to state exactly how much money had been stolen, but he wanted to make sure the community is aware of these types of schemes.
“It can happen to any one of us. When we write a check and we mail it, the check has our account number and routing number,” he said. “This new scam is getting hold of the check, photoshopping a signature and ordering checks.”
He said “some banks were able to catch it, (but) some banks were not able to catch it.”
Lions Clubs are located all over the globe and are dedicated to serving the community. Individual chapters, he said, contribute to a wide array of charities, from donating food to area banks and pantries to contributing to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
“We work very hard to collect through fundraising to help the community. It is sad to see the scammers hit the bottom line of service organizations like us. With COVID, there are a lot of people looking for help, and we work hard to raise money and help communities.”
Gella said the Lions Clubs are always accepting donations, and they are currently seeking new members. Anyone interested in getting involved can visit https://www.lionsclubs.org/.
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