My mom has been a charitable person all her life. But since dad died 18 months ago, she seems to be donating to every cause. It’s always some new charity she chats about whenever we get together. Is she being ripped off? Are these places really charities? How do I get her to be more thoughtful about the organizations to which she donates?
Unfortunately, charity scams are an increasing problem in today’s society. Many fictitious charities are able to view who you have donated to in the past and tailor their requests based on your past giving. Further, once a scam artist has found a potential victim, they may try to go back to the same person on more than one occasion pretending to be different charities.
If you or your mother have concerns regarding the validity of a charity who has contacted you, tell them you will call them back and take some time to research the charity.
Here are some precautions and steps to take when thinking about donating to a particular cause:
- Does your donation benefit the people and organization you want to help?
- Always do your own due diligence and research the charity. Check for their address, website, and phone number.
- Additionally, there are websites available to further evaluate your desire to donate to a particular cause. For example, you can contact the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, the National Association of State Charity Officials, and the Illinois Attorney General’s Registered Charities.
Contributor: Kerry Peck