Jar Scam Hits Businesses in Andrews

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - It's not uncommon to find a collection jar like at a convenience store or at a restaurant. But when you put your loose change in, where's that money really going?

Businesses in Andrews are questioning a jar claiming to help children with disabilities. But the organization called "United Care" may not actually be helping kids who are sick.

"I went online and did a little research and found their activities were questionable in other communities, so it just tipped me off that this might be something we don't want going on in Andrews," Julia Wallace, Director, Andrews Chamber of Commerce, said.

The Andrews Chamber of Commerce tells NewsWest 9, the group sat the jars on restaurant counters all over town some claim to help kids with cancer or children in wheelchairs.

"That jar has done really good. There's a lot of change in there for whoever is doing it," Sean Cassidy, Owner of Cassidy's Sub Shop, said.

"People are really generous when it comes to children," Wallace said. "It touches a soft spot in all of our hearts so I think they know that and they use that to get in people's pocketbooks."

The owner of one local restaurant didn't want to go on camera, but he said he's been suspicious of this group ever since the chamber put out a warning. And he decided to put the jar out of sight.

Over at Cassidy's on Main Street, the owner says he verifies the collector's identification, but those collectors haven't been by in four months, and that's got him worried.

"It seemed legitimate at the time, but I guess something seems a little weird with it now, but at the time when they brought it, we were ok with it," Cassidy said.

But NewsWest 9 wanted to check into the organization, and when we dialed the number on the jar this is what we heard: "No, I'm sorry. I don't know who gave this number, but they've been calling and it's not that phone. This is a residential number in San Antonio."

NewsWest 9 checked with the Better Business Bureau who serves all of the West Texas area. They say up until now, they haven't had any reports of phoney collection jars but they will be launching an investigation into who's behind this one in Andrews.

In the meantime, the Andrews Chamber of Commerce is sending out a warning to businesses and their customers: check out that collection jar before you drop in your change.

"Look and see if it's a recognized organization," Wallace said. "It should have maybe the American Cancer Society seal or the Easter Seals. There will be something there to legitimize what they've got on their countertop."