Saturday, September 03, 2005
If Katrina is like other disasters, there will be people trying to take advantage of the situation (commit fraud). One method they use is to solicit donations for phony charities. The people there need your help. I am posting this in the hope that we can get as much to them as quickly as possible without any of our hard earned money lining the pockets of unscrupulous fiends.
The FTC has already addressed this issue and has some helpful tips. Here they are:
"Donate to recognized charities you have given to before. Watch out for charities that have sprung up overnight. They may be well-meaning, but lack the infrastructure to provide assistance. And be wary of charities with names that sound like familiar, or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
Give directly to the charity, not the solicitors for the charity. Solicitors take a portion of the proceeds to cover their costs, which leaves less for victim assistance.
Do not provide personal or financial information, including your Social Security number or credit card and bank account numbers to anyone who solicits from you. Scam artists use this information to commit fraud against you.
Check out any charities before you donate. Contact the Better Business Bureaus Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
Do not give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card. Write the official name of the charity on your check. You can contribute safely online through national charities like www.redcross.org/donate."
Ask for identification if you are approached in person. Many states require paid fundraisers to identify themselves as such and to name the charity for which they are soliciting.
Should you suspect fraud, report it to the authorities. You can file a report directly with the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/.
The people on the Gulf Coast need and deserve every penny they can get. By contributing wisely, we can ensure they do!
For the FTC Alert on this, click on the title of this post.