In this consumer alert we will discuss Fraudulent Charitable Donations and the different ways you can protect yourself from being taken by scams and con artists.
Have you ever wondered where the money you donate actually goes, or what it is really used for? Well, here are some facts that may surprise you. Many Charities contribute far less than 50% of the money they receive to actual charitable purposes. In fact, some only contribute less than 10%. The balance of donated dollars is used for expenses such as; mailing, high salaries, travel, and miscellaneous costs. True, not all charities operate this way, although charities that do apply 100% of the funds collected are very rare. With more than half a million federally recognized charities soliciting for charitable contributions, it pays to be cautious when making a donation. Asking questions about the nature and extent of the organization is the only way you can be sure the money you contribute will in fact go to support worthwhile causes. Whenever you are asked to donate your hard earned money for charitable purposes, make sure to use the checklist shown below. Keep this checklist handy by the phone, and don’t be afraid of asking questions.
- Ask for written information, including the charity name, address, and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fund-raiser will always provide materials which outline the purpose of the charity, and how and where the funds will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
- Ask for identification. Fund-raisers must identify themselves and the name of the charity for which they are soliciting. If they refuse or, “beat around the bush”, hang up and calls the Attorney General Office’s Consumer Protection Unit. and your local Police Department and report the incident at once.