Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Charity Phone Scams

Fresh off the heels of the FTC’s charge that four sham cancer charities bilked $187 million from donors, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General has announced that another impostor, fraudulently claiming to represent a charity for veterans, has been soliciting donations by phone, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Ostensibly representing Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans, the caller asks for contributions to be sent to a specific location, but they are instead forwarded to the fraudster.

There are many worthy charities working on cancer and veterans’ issues, but these scam artists want to take advantage of the goodwill people have demonstrated in these cause areas. So, how can you separate the good, the bad, and the ugly, and make sure you get the most out of your charitable dollars? Follow these steps to become a more effective giver:

1.  Hang up the phone!  Whether the caller is an imposter, a paid 3rd party solicitor, or a legitimate representative of the charity, you can make sure your donation gets where you want it to go by hanging up, doing some research, and giving directly.
2.  Be proactive. Don't wait for a charity to ask you for support. Instead flip the table and identify which causes you are most passionate about.
3.  Do your homework. Take the time to research the charity's finances, governance practices and results. You'll find much of this analysis, for free, at Charity Navigator.
4.  Make a long-term commitment. Once you've done your research, give generously and over the long haul. A great way to do that is by setting up a monthly donation to your favorite charity. 

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