Beware of the "Bag Scam" targeting elderly

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - 'Tis the season for giving and for some it's the season to take. The Family Sunshine Center has identified a potential bag scam. The organization was alerted about the scam when some residents were approached about making a donation to the Family Sunshine Center.

The bag scam has hit the quiet Bellehurst neighborhood in Montgomery, targeting the elderly.

"I've been approached before but not in this manner," Montgomery resident Lee Patton said.

76-year-old Lee Patton wasn't afraid to go on camera. But other potential victims were. It also happened at a house on sterling drive in the Bellehurst subdivision. The elderly woman and her son did not want to go on camera. But her son did tell me that two women approached the door holding a brown paper bag requesting donations on behalf of the Family Sunshine Center.

"One day it was a plastic bag, the second day it was a paper bag that said Family Sunshine Center," Family Sunshine Center Director Karen Sellers said.

Sellers says the Family Sunshine Center does not go door-to-door seeking donations.

"The donor thinks think they've made a charitable gift and done something really good. But in reality, they've just lined somebody's pocket," Sellers said.

Mr. Patton and his wife didn't fall for it.

"I said no, I don't feel like giving you anything right now and then she come over to talk to my wife and she didn't give her anything either because she was suspicious," Patton said.

Scammers even solicited customers at the Eastdale Mall. Management says security immediately contacted the sunshine center and police.

"If this continues, we will be interested in pressing charges. Yes, but we feel like we need to ask the individuals to stop what they're doing," Sellers said.

The Family Sunshine Center hopes this does not discourage people who really want to donate this holiday season. Last year, 13,000 people received assistance. This holiday season there is a desperate need for pajama sets for kids and adults.

If you would like to donate, please go online to or call the center at 334-206-2124.

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