How to tell if a charity phone request is a fraud

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Sharing and caring and charitable giving are wonderful ways to support organizations and causes that you care about.  But if you are considering making a donation in response to a telephone solicitation be careful – not all solicitations that you receive are legitimate and fraudulent solicitations are not always easy to identify. So before writing that check or giving out your credit card number, be sure to take care, to assure that your contributions are going to be appropriately used. 

Take your time when assessing a request for a contribution, especially if you are responding to a telephone solicitation. Ask for detailed information, including the exact name, address and telephone number of the charity. Then before making a contribution, take the time and do your homework. 

At a minimum, call the charity and verify the fundraiser’s claim that a fundraising drive is being conducted and that the organization is using a paid fundraiser to conduct the campaign.  An even safer approach, ask that the caller send you written information about the charity and the specific purpose of the drive.  

A red flag should go up if the caller presses for an immediate contribution or even suggests that a courier could be sent to pick up your contribution. Explain to the solicitor that you will consider the request at the end of the year along with others that you receive and determine, at that time, if you will make a contribution and the amount of that contribution.  

Avoid high pressure tactics and if you are concerned about the legitimacy of a call, check with the Better Business Bureau. If you receive multiple calls you can call the National Do Not Call Registry.  The Registry is designed to reduce unwanted telemarketing calls and can be used to eliminate unwanted contacts from a specific charity.

If you need legal assistance, please contact Sandra L. Meilton, Esquire at (717) 724-9821