Beware of charity fraud
The Federal Trade Commission, National Association of State Charities officials, and state charities regulators across the country are joining forces to alert consumers to avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving.
The FTC and its U.S. partners are also joining with many other nations and non-governmental organizations to promote this effort to help prevent people from getting ripped off by phony charities.
“Generous Americans gave more than $286 billion to charity last year. It’s important to raise awareness about charity fraud and promote wise giving, to ensure that consumers’ money goes where it is intended and helps those in need,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simmons. “Joining forces with state and international partners makes all of our education efforts more effective.”
To promote awareness of the impact of charity fraud and the importance of wise giving, the FTC is releasing a new video, “Make Your Donations Count.”
The video highlights the value of researching charities to avoid donating to a scam, provides tips people can follow to verify the charity before they donate, and directs people to visit FTC.gov/Charity for more information.
The FTC website can also give you valuable information that will help you find those charities before giving to make sure your donation is going to help the cause and people you care about. Also there you can look up a charity’s report and ratings. In addition, you can check them out at sites such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar.
The FTC also recommends you watch out for names that only look like well-known charities. Just because a group has a sympathetic sounding name, or sounds like a well-known organization, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Some of the worst offenders have been known to mimic the names of reputable organizations.
Apart from personal donations, businesses may be approached for charitable contributions, too. Firms also want their donations to go to reputable non-profits, and they want to avoid inadvertently associating the company with a questionable fundraising campaign. The FTC also has specific advice for businesses in “Tips for Retailers: How to Review Charity Requests.”
You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint on the Web site, or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). You can also follow the FTC on Facebook and Twitter.