Charity scams have increased in recent years. In 2008, the Federal Trade commission received 1.23 million complaints regarding charitable contributions to nonexistent charities. The number of complaints increased to 1.33 million complaints in 2009.
Before you give, learn as much as possible about the charities who solicit you for donations. Avoid becoming a statistic by doing your homework on any charity before making a donation. Local media may compile lists of charities that respond to emergency situations. United Way and the Better Business Bureau can be sources of information about charities helping in an emergency.
The best way to find out more about a charity is to do your own research. Web sites like GuideStar.org and CharityNavigator.org track non-profit organizations. Once you have done your research, contact the charities you have selected. Avoid being pressured to give to a charity based on unsolicited calls to your home or e-mail solicitations.
Pay with check or card so you have a record of the contribution. Request a receipt for all donations. Georgiaand many other states require charities to register with them and file annual reports which show how donations are used. Ask the charity for more information about its purpose and how it uses funds. Legitimate charities willingly offer this type of information.
Double check the name of the charity to make sure it is not a sound-alike. Fake charities try to capitalize on the good reputation of real charities. Charity scams target individuals who wish to aid a cause or help others. Make sure your donations go to worthy causes by being proactive with a list and budget of charities you wish to donate to this year.
Questions??? Call me in Columbus at 706.653.4200.