UPDATE: Rockford Car Dealer Victimized In Fundraiser Fraud

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UPDATE (2/13/17) – Lou Bachrodt’s General Manager says a scam is still going on, where callers are posing to be with the business attempting to collect donations.

Now, scammers, using the caller ID ‘Lou Bachrodt VW,’ are saying they’re fundraising in partnership with the car dealership, this time claiming they’re raising money for the homeless.

Officials with the car dealership say this is also a scam, and not to pledge money.

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George Schaffner, general manager of Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall, was upset after learning that his customers were being duped into a scam. 

He says the Foundation For American Veterans, a Michigan based charity, claimed to be a fundraising partner with the car dealership. Schaffner said this never was the case.

“This is bogus, it is complete fraud, and they need to be called on it,” said Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall General Manager, George Schaffner.

“[A customer called and said,] ‘we got a call from someone saying they are doing a charity drive with you,'” said Schaffner. “I was like ‘no, we’re are not doing any charity drives with anybody’. Especially, we wouldn’t do any phone solicitation like that. That isn’t something we would be tied to,” he added.

What makes the scam convincing is that the Lou Bachrodt VW name will appear on the caller ID. However, the phone number is based somewhere near Chicago.

“[Lou Bachrodt is] a victim here,” said Dennis Horton of the Rockford Better Business Bureau. “…They are being linked to an organization that isn’t necessarily all that reputable,” he added.

Horton said the foundation has a sketchy operation. The Saint Louis BBB said it received reports of extremely pushy phone solicitors into making donations. A company that the foundation works with to help raise money, Associated Community Services, has been mired in a court battle.

“The fundraising company that they use has been sued by three attorney generals in Missouri, Michigan, and Iowa,” said Horton.

Horton suggested that it is best to use caution when asked to donate over the phone.

“Don’t feel pressure ever to donate over the phone,” he said. “If a legitimate charity needs the money today, then they’ll need it tomorrow and they will certainly wait for it,” he added.

“It’s just a slap in the face for the people that are truly trying to make a difference,” said Schaffner. “It has to be stopped and we’re taking a stand. We ask that anybody in…Rockford…that gets these calls, end it,” he added.

Schaffner told Eyewitness News that Lou Bachrodt will take legal action. They’ve hired an attorney who he said will file an injunction against the foundation to stop the calls.

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