A flyer in the mail, a phone call, a personalized email: Everyone receives requests for donations in one form or another.
Many legitimate charities use telemarketing, direct mail, email and online ads to ask for contributions. Unfortunately, scam artists also use these techniques to pocket your money. If someone asks for a donation, take your time and familiarize yourself with the charity:
- Ask for the charity’s name, address and phone number, and request written information about its programs.
- Inquire whether the person contacting you is a professional fundraiser and how much of your contribution will go to fundraising costs.
- Check the history of the organization with the office that regulates charities in your state.
You should also know the warning signs of a scam:
- High-pressure pitches. Reject them: It’s okay to hang up.
- A thank -ou for a pledge you don't remember making. Be skeptical; scam artists will lie to get your money.
- Requests for cash. Avoid giving cash donations.
- Charities that offer to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your money.
- Charities that guarantee sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution.
- Charities that spring up overnight, especially those that involve current events like natural disasters, or those that claim to be for police officers, veterans, or firefighters. They probably don't have the infrastructure to get your donations to the affected area or people.
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- Beware: Foreclosure Solutions May Be Scams
- Protect Yourself From Health Scams
- How to Identify and Prevent Investment Fraud
- Keep Financial Predators from Stealing Your Money
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?