Especially in the aftermath of 911,
charity scams have proliferated. Emails arrive daily telling about often
true disasters, like the Tsunami in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia,
and asking for you to donate. they are virtually ALL scams.
Legitimate aid agencies do not send out spam or bulk emails.
Here's how to know and what to do.
If you’re approached by an unfamiliar
charity, check it out. Most states require charities to
register with them and file annual reports showing how they use
donations. Ask your state or local consumer protection agency how
to get this information. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving
Alliance also offers information about national charities. Call
703-276-0100 or go to www.give.org.
Be cautious about emails seeking charitable
contributions. Many unsolicited email messages are fraudulent.
Beware of sound-alikes. Some crooks try
to fool people by using names that are very similar to those of
Ask how donations are used. One of the
most important things to consider is how much of your money goes to
fundraising and administrative costs, rather than to the charitable
Be wary of requests to support police or
firefighters. Some fraudulent fundraisers claim that donations
will benefit police or firefighters, when in fact little or no money
goes to them. Contact your local police or fire department to find
out if the claims are true and what percentage of donations, if any,
they will receive.
Be especially cautious when there are
natural or other disasters. Fraudulent charities take advantage
of those situations to trick
people who want to help the victims. If you’re not sure whether a
charity is legitimate, check it out with your state charities
regulator and the BBB before you donate.