Phony Charities

Crooks often pose as charities in these effective schemes that both trick you out of you money and take money from those needing it most.

No one wants to be thought of as the bad guy — the self-centered oaf who doesn’t want to give a little change for the September 11th orphans or children in cancer wards. However, you don’t want to be a victim of a phony charity either. We believe it’s important to support the efforts of others to care for our fellow human beings. And at the same time, research charities before giving as it only takes a few bad apples to sour it for everyone.

Some ways to make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity:

  • Never give payment data to a telemarketer claiming to be with a charitable organization.
  • Never give payment information to someone emailing you claiming to be with a charity.
  • Ask them to send you brochures on their organization.
  • Investigate the charity online to make sure it’s legitimate. Visit their website.
  • Research the charity with the Better Business Bureau to make sure it’s genuine — and that you’ve got the right information for sending in any funds for donation.

In 2001 there was a now infamous email message circulating around the Internet that alleged it was from the Red Cross. The message said it was collecting funds for September 11th victims. It turned out that the website people were directed to was bogus. Misrepresenting a legitimate charitable organization is a favorite scam by con artists, so be on guard.

Another method for identifying phony charities is if they immediately apply a lot of pressure to give. Genuine charities never hesitate to confirm who they are and are patient enough to wait until you’ve double checked their credentials.

Related Charity Fraud Links

2 Responses

  1. Aimi Dubois says:

    Is there an email to report a fraudulent charity, illegally raising money, making false ID’s, and having over 30 aka’s and using a fake name and supplying false background to establish a new identity?

  2. Sharon says:

    Another thing people might want to know is that nowadays, if a business is soliciting for a charity, oftentimes, it’s linked in with the business’ lobbyists at the federal or state capitals. For example, companies that have lobbyists traditionally give money to political candidates. However, giving money to a candidate’s race in the traditional way is not effective because few people open the mail (e-mail or snailmail) that the candidates send out at election time, and TV advertising is very expensive.
    What many businesses are doing now is that they’re developing relationships with legitimate charaties, and they’ll donate a large sum to a legitimate charity and want to do a check presentation where they take photos of someone delivering one of those giant checks. And they’ll tell the charity to have x politician deliver the check for the photo op to be posted on the charity’s website or newsletter. Or the charity will agree to do a story about the politician being involved with the charity. And voters will see the picture of the politician in their favorite charity’s website and think, oh, that’s a good person. It is much, much more effective than traditional political advertising, and the voters don’t even realize they’re being influenced in a big way. For companies that do lobbying, it’s more effective and cheaper than traditional political advertising.
    Personally, i don’t give money at the grocery checkout line because i suspect it is somehow connected with the supermarket’s lobbyists. And i generally do not give small amounts as people ask now and again. It is better to research a charity and budget a larger yearly amount to one or two that seem worthy rather than a bunch of smaller donations that you don’t know exactly where they’re going. Likewise, at United Way time, i research individual charaties and budget to elect to give to one or two specifically rather than donating to the umbrella “United Way,” because when you give to the umbrella you don’t really know where the money is going.
    I used to work for lobbyists and it was very interesting to learn about the lobbyist/charity connections. Previous to that i had been very trusting and naive about charities.

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