Where is your charity money going?
Make Your Money Count
Before donating to charities, take precautions to ensure that the money will go where it's needed.
- Don't give cash. Legitimate charities will take a check.
- Don't give credit card, bank account or personal information to telemarketers. If you want to give, initiate the call.
- Don't give to Internet appeals if the cause does not look legitimate and doesn't check out. Traditional frauds have gone electronic in recent years, giving con artists easy access to thousands of potential victims.
- Don't give in to pressure. Anyone that can't wait for a donation while you check out his or her organization is likely to be a crook.
- Expect specific information. Ask what kind of relief this organization is going to provide. Don't give to a vague appeal.
- heck out the charity with national, state and local authorities. Established charities register with the Internal Revenue Service. You can search for specific non-profit organizations on the IRS website, irs.gov
- Beware of newly formed organizations. If the charity is new, you may have to rely on your relationship with the company or sponsor of the organization to determine whether you trust the group.
- Report abuses to the nearest Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General's office. Both are listed in local telephone directories. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060. NFIC also has a web-based complaint form at fraud.org.
- Do give. Experts agree that needs will be great both now and in the months to come.
*Source: The Los Angeles Times