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Beware Charity Scams

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for serious woman making phone call.jpgMany of us are annoyed by unsolicited telephone calls. Although most consumers are probably aware that they need to be cautions when receiving these calls, many may not know that they should be equally cautions when the caller is soliciting for a charity. Many of these charitable solicitations are little more than scams.

As reported recently by the Connecticut Law Tribune, "Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and their leader . . .  have agreed to settle allegations that the charities claimed to help cancer patients, but instead spent the majority of the donations on themselves, friends and families and the professional fundraisers used to solicit the funds." They have agreed to settle a suit brought by the FTC and all 50 states by paying $76 million.

Unfortunately, many of the charities that solicit by telephone have similar track records. Charity Watch and Charity Navigator are both good sources to check out a charity before making a donation.  

Donors should be aware that even reputable agencies sometimes use paid solicitors who keep a percentage of the donations. To ensure that the entire donation is used as intended, it is a good idea to contribute directly to an organization rather than give money to a paid solicitor.

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