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Nov 9, 2010 12:54 PM by Katie Durio

BBB Warns of Holiday Charity Scams

The holidays are just around corner and just one of the scams consumers are faced with is Charity Fraud and scams.
With ever-rising costs, the loss of government funding, and an increasing demand for their services, charities are responding by asking for larger contributions from more donors--and they're asking more often than ever before. Donors would do well to plan their giving and demand accountability of the organizations soliciting their support.
More than 80% of the money raised by charities in this country comes from individuals. To help these generous donors make wise giving decisions for charity reviews, go to: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/ The BBB Wise Giving Alliance website.
There are charities that take advantage of kind donors with names that often look alike or sound alike well-know organizations or perhaps do not meet all of the 20 standards - 2 include: Feeding America's Hungry Children -BBB review: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/feeding-americas-hungry-children-in-phoenix-az-2211
And the other Cancer Federation - BBB review: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/cancer/cancer-federation-in-banning-ca-725 Neither one of these charities meet the standards of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance both for different reasons. Some areas could include: Program Service Expense Ratio - Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities; the BBB Wise Giving Alliance requested but did not receive complete information on the organization's governance and oversight, effectiveness measures, finances, and solicitation materials and is unable to verify the organization's compliance and board compliance issues. see BBB reports for more information.
The BBB offers the following tips to donors:

Charity Scam Warning Signs
Þ Look-alike charities. Watch out for charities with similar names to well-known organizations.
Þ Some scam artists try to trick people by using names that make them appear to be the same as or comparable to valid charities.
Þ Contribution collectors. Stay cautious of charities that offer to send a representative to collect donations.
Þ Email Scams. Be skeptical of emails seeking charitable contributions. Many unsolicited messages received through email are fraudulent.
Þ Promised prizes. Be cautious of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for your contribution.
If you are unfamiliar with the organization, don't hesitate to ask for written information about its programs and finances. And go to http://www.bbb.org/us/Charitable-Giving-Guide/
Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.
Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.
Before making online donations, determine whether the charity's website has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, e-mail address or other personal facts.
When considering supporting a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization's website.
So remember-- give but give wisely: For the Wise Giving Guide go to: http://www.bbb.org/us/Charitable-Giving-Guide/ or contact us at337.981.3497

 

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