Eye on Scams: Donating to the right charity

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How do you know if a charity cause is real and that your money will be used wisely?

Con-artists are experts at playing to our emotions.

Sharane Gott, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “There are more good people than bad people, but bad people take advantage of good people and their good heart.”

Scammers can use charitable causes to tug on your heartstrings.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau urges donors to remain vigilant in researching charities before donating to avoid questionable appeals.

“The first rule is do not give with your heart first,” explained Gott. “Give with your head. Check it out. Make sure that you know the people involved that you trust them. Don’t rely on past reputations. Rely on present reputations.”

There are a number of ways to check out charitable organizations. However, experts say it is difficult to examine individuals requesting help on crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe or Facebook.

“Regardless of your money situation and you believe in something enough to give money if you had it, even if you have it or you don’t have it, ask what you can do to help. Put your back into it,” added Gott. “Put your sweat into it. That’s the same thing and then on top of that, you get to check it out.”
To help donors avoid disappointment or potential fraud, the first and most important step is to find out more about the charity before making a gift.

Here are some tips to help protect you from donating to the wrong charity:

  • Make sure you watch out for charity name confusion. Be alert to questionable groups seeking to confuse donors with a name that sounds similar to charities you know.
  • Resist pressure to give on the spot.
  • Find out more about the charity by researching online.
  • Check with state charity officials. In many states, charities are required to register, usually with the office of the attorney general.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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