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Lakewood man scammed by child claiming to represent Team Blackout

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LAKEWOOD  —  Tuesday was giving Tuesday, a time for people all around the world to open their hearts – and their wallets.

But before you hand over any donations, one Pierce County man has a warning: Scammers took advantage of his giving nature.

Joe Black said a little boy and his mom rang Black’s doorbell Monday night, claiming to be raising money for football uniforms for Team Blackout,  a popular local athletic club for kids.

“The little boy ... every question I asked. the documentation he showed me, and the Facebook page, and every answer for how much money they are needing, and this and that and I believed it," Black said.

"And his mom was right there with the forms that showed exactly what was going on and I read it and I went upstairs, grabbed $20 in cash and I gave it to him."

Black said he reached out to Team Blackout on Facebook, and learned he’d been scammed.

Team Blackout says this isn’t the first time they’ve heard of scammers using their good reputation to rip people off.  Right now, they’re not running any fundraisers.

They said they never send kids door to door to solicit money.

“If somebody is using our name falsely, people are going to shun us or turn away from us trying to build the community,” executive director Yisreal Johnson said.

Lakewood Police say they usually advise people to ask for ID if someone comes to your front door asking for a donation.  But they say this is a difficult situation because kids don’t carry ID.

Lakewood PD says the best thing you can do is ask for a phone number for the organization, so you can verify the legitimacy and tell the person to come back the next day.

The main thing to remember is don’t be afraid to check up, and always trust your gut.

Black said he hopes those who love to embrace this season of giving will take this advice instead.  Lakewood police say they haven't had anyone filing reports of these scams lately, but they encourage people to do so if it happens to them.

Joe is taking that advice. He says he plans to file an official police report tomorrow.