Salvation Army warning donors about fake bell ringers

Published: Nov. 29, 2012 at 3:21 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2012 at 3:24 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A warning from the Salvation Army: someone is impersonating its famous bell ringers and trying to scam you out of your Christmas donation.

WBTV has learned at least two fake bell ringers have been spotted already this holiday season.

Major Bobby Lancaster with the Salvation Army says while uncommon, it's still troubling.

"It just happens every now and then," he said. "And these times where the economy is down, people are trying to do things that are not right."

The Salvation Army says there are certain things you should look for: all bell ringers wear an ID badge that shows they're with the organization and they also wear an official Salvation Army apron.

John Mosley, a bell ringer for nearly a decade, was saddened to hear about the imposters.

"It's hard to believe," he said. "Who would want to do this as much as the Salvation Army does for people?"

Major Lancaster also told WBTV every red kettle has a lock on it and that a bell ringer will never take money from you -- it always goes directly into the kettle.

He did have this message for imposters.

"If these people are in need, and need help, we'll be glad to help them," said Lancaster. "All they gotta do is call us."

If you do spot a fake bell ringer, contact the Salvation Army.

The bell ringers will be a 70 locations across the Charlotte area until December 24.

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