When it comes to charitable causes like supporting breast cancer patients, many with generous hearts like yours sign checks or swipe credit cards in hopes of making a difference. Unfortunately, too many organizations and companies take advantage of that in order to make a quick buck.
These types of fraudulent organizations are nothing new. Last May, four “charities” were busted after having gleaned over $187 million—the result of years of deceit. All of them—Cancer Support Services, Breast Cancer Society, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and Cancer Fund of America—were run by the same family, and the vast majority of the funds went into their pockets.
Jessica Rich, chief of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, had a comment to make about the situation: “This is about as bad as it can get: taking money away from cancer victims.”
And she’s right. Even so, there are many legitimate charities out there, so don’t let the existence of frauds taint your generosity. But don’t let yourself be duped, either! Here are some ways to safeguard yourself against scammers.
- Do your homework. Before giving to an organization, turn to the Internet. There are many sites that provide insights into how various charities function, like Charity Navigator, GuideStar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch.
- Be wary of telemarketers. This is especially true if you’ve never heard of the charity before. Ask what percentage of their funds go to telemarketing costs. If it’s more than 35 percent, it’s best to hang up.
- Don’t be bullied into making a snap donation. A good charity will want you to make an educated decision and won’t put too much pressure on you.
- Watch out for organizations that dodge questions or won’t give you enough information. That kind of tactic is sketchy. A good organization will be transparent because it doesn’t have anything incriminating to hide.
- Get suspicious if they want cash only. Stolen cash is hard to recover, so asking for cash only may be a tactic to steal and get away with it.
And in case you were wondering: by all means, research The Breast Cancer Site before donating to us!