December 7, 2016; KKTV (Colorado Springs, CO)

It’s a sad state of affairs, but nonprofits in these days of unending creative scams must always look an unexpected gift horse in the mouth. So it was when a beautifully wrapped box showed up at the Mission Medical Clinic in Colorado Springs. Inside was a card signed “Your Mystery Friend” that thanked the clinic for its good work and asked the director, Barb Cronin, for the names of three other local nonprofits that were also worthy.

Oh, and there was also a cashier’s check for $10,000 and three $50 gift cards.

Readers may remember there was a scam earlier this year where nonprofits would receive a check for $40,000 along with a notification that they were awarded a lesser grant. Then, someone would call confessing to an embarrassing mistake in sending too much and asking for the difference to be sent back, which some did immediately. Of course, the original check would not clear.

Back to Mission Medical.

“When I calmed myself down from the joy of receiving $10,000, I Googled ‘cashier check fraud,’” said Cronin. Then, she asked KKTV for help; they contacted the bank that issued the cashier’s check and a Texas public relations firm from which the box was sent. It all checked out as legit. The donor remains a mystery, but the Rocky Mountain Field Institute revealed that it got the same gift last year. It was real and they still talk about it every day.

“It’s like stuff that happens in movies, you know.”—Ruth McCambridge