I recently read an excellent AJC article by Shelia Poole,
although disturbing, about how busy scammers are this time of year, especially
scammers who use Charity’s as their way into our goodwill.
American’s by nature are very giving people, especially, in
times of crisis. It is important that
you are aware of this and be cautious, not only all year, but especially during
this time of year. Why is the end of the year so important? According to the
article, people feel more generous during the holidays. It’s also the time when taxpayers try to make
contributions by December 31st so they can qualify for tax
deductions. This all leads to you
getting more emails, calls and regular mail asking you for your money.
An interesting statistic as that according to Charity
Navigator, charities on average receive 40% of their annual contributions
between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
These “scammers” and I am being polite, feed off of
catastrophes like Katrina and Sandy. There are legitimate charities and other
organizations out there, but “perpetrators” and yes, I am being polite again,
will lie, cheat and steal to get your money, saying they represent some
organization set up to help these victims.
Here is what the AJC article (and I agree) suggest you can
do to protect yourself:
out the charity to make sure it is efficient, ethical and effective. How strong
are the organization’s finances? Is the organization transparent? What are the
results of its work? How much goes to salaries?
are several online resources that can help, including the Better Business
Bureau (www.give.org). Also,
review the organization’s own website.
wary of telephone solicitors asking for contributions. Ask that the individual
put his request in writing and provide complete information about the
give your credit card, debit card or bank account information to a telephone
organizations adopt names confusingly similar to well-known charities. Make
sure you know exactly who is asking for your contribution.
skeptical of organizations that list only post office boxes, “PMB” addresses or
mail drop suite numbers.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the
Sandy Springs Police Department. He can
be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.