There has been an increasing amount of charity fraud happen since the economy took a downturn in 2007. Most people don’t even know until after the fact that they are dealing with a false charity. There are a few things everyone should know about charities to help avoid donating their money to someone that is not who they claim to be. The following is a list of questions you can ask yourself to help distinguish between a real charity and a fake one.
1. Is it a charity you have heard of?
Most charities get a lot of local spotlight; so if you are approached by someone who wants you to donate money to a charity you have never heard of, think twice before opening your wallet. Many fake charities spring up overnight and resemble real charities. This is why it is better to only donate money to charities that are reputable and you have heard of. Not everyone is who they claim to be.
2. Can the representative give you all the information you ask for?
Charities are very organized and they give their representatives brochures, pamphlets, and fliers to distribute to potential donors. Chances are that if someone approaches you about donating money and does not have any tangible information to give you, then it is probably not a real charity. This is true whether the solicitation comes in person, over the phone, or on the Internet. Charities are always willing to give you more information about their cause, even if it means mailing it to you.
3. Does it seem suspicious?
There are many red flags that a charity might be a fraud. If a charity seems suspicious at all, you should just say no and find somewhere more reputable to donate your money. It is best to just go with your gut on this.
4. Is your donation tax deductible?
Most charities are registered with the IRS and will give you a receipt for a tax deduction. Never donate money if you will not get a tax deduction. The same is true of donations that are not monetary like clothing and household items.