Local charity that helps kids latest to fall prey to scammersPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - Scams can be found out there and no one, not even a local charity, is off limits to being targeted.
“It was just awful.”
That’s how Phillip Roberts described the moment he realized they’d been scammed.
“Some of this is my fault,” he said. “I’m the one that actually pushed the button and bought it off the Internet.”
Roberts and Kelley Hullihen run a charity called Hoofbeats with Heart which combines non-traditional therapies, horseback riding and love. This organization helps hundreds of Valley kids with special needs.
They were looking to put a playground on their property and found a company called Brady’s Depot that was advertising a playground online for $560.00.
They were told to pay with MoneyPak cards from Walgreen's. Just put the money on the card, they were told, scratch the numbers off the back and give those numbers to the person receiving payment.
The Better Business Bureau said it’s the new wire transfer of choice for scammers.
“Instead of wiring money Western Union or Money Gram, they are asking them to send the activation number for the MoneyPak card,” Felicia Thompson from the BBB in Phoenix said.
The charity found this out the hard way. The playground never showed up.
3 On Your Side reached out to the Better Business Bureau in Missouri – where we traced Brady’s Depot. What was their website now takes you to Ebay and the phone lines have been disconnected. The BBB told us they have no information.
But this story does have a happy ending.
After our first report aired, a Scottsdale resident named Robert Smith stepped up to help.
“When I saw the story,” said Smith, “immediately I thought how often stuff like this happens. And I was compelled to buy a playground set.”
Actually, the very morning after our story aired, Smith – who does financial planning for people with disabilities and their families – and his colleague, got a U-haul and, in their dress clothes, drove out to San Tan Valley to unload the playground equipment.
“Oh My Gosh, I’m so excited. Thank you so much for your help,” said a smiling Hullihen.
The playground set is yet another additional to an already wonderful place where kids who have special needs are treated with the respect and love they deserve.
Hullihen and Roberts said they are overwhelmed with appreciation.
“Awesome,” she said, “I couldn’t have done it without (3 On Your Side)," she said.
For more information on this charity, go to hoofbeatswithheart.org.