As the Christmas holiday season revs into top gear, charities go all out in their fundraising efforts and so do scam artists who create sham charities to steal money or private information from well-meaning donors.
Fraudulent charities routinely show up among the tax man “dirty dozen” list of tax scams. In fact, just two months ago, the inland revenue issued a consumer alert about possible fake charity scams emerging.
“Their schemes include contacting people by phone, social media, email or in person and pretending to be from a charity that helps disaster victims,”.
Even without being fraudulent, some charities routinely spend more of their donors’ hard earned cash on administrative and fundraising costs than on programs that benefit the real people who are in need.
“You could be funding fundraising,” says Daniel Borochoff, president of a Charity Watch, a watchdog group.
“Save time and money this holiday season
Let us help you make the smartest decisions on gifts and more”. Don’t take in the shed of lies you will be told by the crooks
Check Out That Charity
Before you donate, it’s always a good idea to check out a charity.
In addition, whether the solicitation comes A COLD CALL or online, watch out for these red flags:
- Frequent phone solicitations. “Typically, that’s a for-profit telemarketing firm making that call and they’ve been known to keep a significant portion of your contribution,” says Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing and chief financial officer for Charity Navigator. “There are even cases when the for-profit firms keep everything plus a payment from the charity.” Miniutti specifically targets charities that tug on the heartstrings—those purporting to help veterans, fire fighters and police, and sick children. “We recommend politely hanging up and doing your research,” Funding the wrong activities. “Look for a description of a charity’s programs and how much was spent on that activity,” says Borochoff. “It may not be impressive if you know how much [money overall] was spent in a recent year.”
- Friends and family on the board of directors. Charities have to report how many members are on their board of directors and how many of those directors are independent. That information is readily available you can even find it on the charity’s website, and it’s worth checking out. One Cancer Fund in America and three other affiliates were charged earlier this year with defrauding consumers of more than $187 million, was a nest of nepotism: founder James Reynolds Sr. employed his ex-wife, his son, and dozens of members of their extended family. “That’s a really big clue,”
- Playing the name game. Some phony charities use names, seals, and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations. This is especially prevalent among organizations using the words “veterans” or “military families” to gain your trust.
Posted on: December 21, 2015
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