Scam Targets Oswego County Hospice and Fundraising Arm

Scammers are trying to make some Oswego County residents believe they’re giving money to The Friends of Oswego County Hospice when they’re not.

The agency, which raises money on behalf of Oswego County Hospice, reported the scam Thursday.

Funeral director Dennis Goss of Foster Funeral Home got one of those calls.

“‘We want to thank you for your continuing support of hospice'”, Goss reported the call as beginning.

The problem for the scammers was this: Goss is the immediate past president of the Hospice board. He knew there was no fundraising effort underway and knows that the Friends of Hospice never raises money by phone.

So he played along for a bit, trying to find out more about the scam.

He asked them how much he had given in the past.  The scam artist on the other end said $25.

He asked them which hospice organization they were representing.  They couldn’t be specific.

“Local hospices don’t do telephone solicitation,” he says he told the scammer.  He heard the click on the other end of the line as the caller hung up abruptly.

They didn’t give up, though.  Not long after, they called back and tried to get Goss’s wife to “donate”.

Debbie Bishop, who runs the Friends of Hospice organization, called the scam attempt disgusting. “My biggest fear is that someone gets a call who actually has a family member in the hospice program and they’re ripped off somehow,” she said.

The agency reported the scam attempt to police, but know there’s not much police can do without concrete information about where the call came from.

Bishop and Goss stressed that Hospice never raises money by phone.  Donations can be made by calling 343-5223 or through the Friends of Hospice website.