Saturday, March 9, 2013

Avoid Charity Fraud With These Tips From The AZ. AG

by Gary Snyder

The Arizona Attorney General gives advise: Be Careful!
Consider the following precautions to help ensure that your donation dollars benefit the people or organization you are interested in helping.

• Be wary of charities that spring up over night in connection with current events or a natural disaster. As much as some of these pitches pull at your heartstrings, many of these so-called charities probably do not have the means to get the donations to the affected people or areas. 
• Be especially cautious about getting a charity donation request by email. More and more charities are using email and text messaging to communicate with potential or past donors. It is important to research these solicitations just as if they came through the mail or in person.
• Check with local recipients. If giving to local organizations or charities is important to you, make sure they receive the benefit of your generosity. If a charity tells you that your money will support a local organization, such as a fire department, police station, or  hospital, call the organization to verify the claim. 
• Put telemarketers on hold. It may seem convenient to give over the phone, but it is a risky proposition. Some telemarketers will attempt to obtain your credit card number over the telephone. Others will try to convince you that you have given in the past. As with all other solicitations, do your homework before you give.
• Never give cash. Cash can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it is best to pay by check made payable to the charity, not the solicitor. If you decide to donate online, make sure that the website is secure (look for a URL that begins “https” or has a lock icon on the browser’s status bar).
• Make sure you have a record of your donation. Always get a receipt with the name of the charity on it and the amount of your donation.
• Trust your gut. Solicitors may try to trick you by thanking you for a pledge you did not make. If you do not remember making the donation, resist the pressure to give. It is always a good idea to keep a record of your donations. 

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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