It happens any time there are a group of people who need outside help. From cancer patients to victims of natural disasters, scam artists will use any available group afflicted by misfortune as a front for running bogus charities. Such activities are both illegal and unethical.
You can avoid being taken in by their scams by paying attention to the following warning signs when these bogus charities contact you asking for donations:
1. The charity provides no written information about its mission, its operating costs or how donations will be used. If it is legitimate, it will have no trouble providing such information to potential donors.
2. The charity offers you no evidence that your donation will be tax-deductible on your next tax return.
3. The charity in question tries to breed confusion by choosing a name closely resembling a legitimate charity that already exists.
4. You get pushed to make donations through applying high pressure tactics designed to increase guilt if you attempt to decline making a donation.
5. You are asked for bank account information or a credit card number before you even agree to make a donation or you are asked to make a large cash only donation.
6. You get a phone call or letter thanking you for a donation you never made and you are quickly asked to contribute even more funds.
7. If you donate a large sum, you are promised you will be entered in to win a sweepstakes.
It is unfortunate that bad people come out of the woodwork when disaster strikes. But you can be certain your donations will go to the right place if you exercise caution. Always ask questions and get answers before donating.