Beware Charity Fraud

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent me some information about some popular charity frauds going around lately.

I personally never respond to a solicitation. It could’ve come in the mail, through a phone call, or an email; I ignore them all. It’s not because I’m a heartless person and it’s not because I don’t trust the solicitation, it’s that I prefer to go directly to the charity. I don’t want to write a personal check and put it in the mail. I don’t want to give any sensitive information across the phone and I certainly don’t trust email, with all the scams and phishing attempts surrounding those. I know the charities we like to support and we generally go directly to their websites to donate.

However, given the tumble the stock market had over the last year, a lot of charities are turning to solicitations to get more donations because their trusts and endowments are hurting. This has opened up an opportunity for scammers and thieves, so the FTC has offered up some good information to help you combat that.

If you recently received a phone call from a “charity” and are considering donating money, I recommend you read the FTC’s Charity Fraud website for tips on how you can protect yourself and the people you’re helping. When you give money to a scammer, it only empowers them to keep on ripping people off. As more people get burned, they start avoiding charities and charities that support the people the scammer said he or she was collecting for. In the end, it’s the people you intended to help that get hurt the most.

I also wanted to spotlight two particularly poignant scams going on right now and how to protect them. The first involves scammers pretending to collect donations to support the troops, as in vets, active duty, or their families. The second is the result of an enforcement sweep of scammers that pretended to collect donations for police, firefighters, and veterans.

It’s great to help those who are in need, but not if the money is going into the pocket of a scammer.

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Beware Charity Fraud”

  1. Wendy says:

    It’s sick that a few “bad apples” out there ruin it for the good people. As you said, the charities and non-profits will suffer from this. I volunteered for a local non-profit organization just a few weeks ago. Some of my tasks involved conducting follow up calls on donation letters that were mailed out. I made sure to leave the director’s name and number so that people knew I was from a legitimate organization. Regardless, we were short on contribution items and I’m sure these scams are part of the reason.

  2. thomas says:

    Seriously. It’s crap like this that make you not want to give money. I mean, it’s tough enough trying to get “legit” NFPs to spend the money right, let alone worry about dirty thieves.

  3. eric says:

    Horrible. :/

  4. thomas says:

    just to add on – I would fully support a federal law that executes offenders after conviction of setting up fraudulent charities in the name of social servants like the military, police, and firefighters.

  5. My wife always gives to the veterans, but I often wonder if they are for real or just old guys who went to the army/navy store . . .

  6. Patrick says:

    I agree with you Jim, it’s hard to trust anybody who is calling you on the phone. I am with you that I will go directly to the charity if I want to donate or I will donate my time to make a bigger impact.

  7. Luke says:

    yes charity fruad bothers me please be careful

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