Over the past few months our Crime Prevention Specialist has been asked several times to verify the legitimacy of various organizations who utilize telemarketing firms to solicit charitable donations by phone. It seems as though this method of generating revenue for charitable organizations is becoming increasingly popular. While there are many legitimate organizations that use this method of fundraising, there are also those that use telephone solicitation to fraudulently obtain money.
There are many things you can do to protect yourself from being a victim of this type of fraud.
- First, donít commit yourself to charitable donations over the phone. Ask the caller to mail the information to you so that you can make an informed decision. If you are not familiar with the organization, consult the State Department of Consumer Affairs or the Better Business Bureau.
- Secondly, never give out personal information such as your social security, bank account, or credit card numbers over the phone unless you initiated the call and know with whom you are speaking.
- Thirdly, ask the caller what percentage of your donation goes directly to the organization he/she is representing. Often, only a very small percentage of funds collected in the name of the charity actually are given to them.
- Finally, I recommend that if you would like to donate money to a charitable organization, donate it directly to the organization. Most reputable organizations are listed and can be contacted by phone to obtain a direct mailing address for your donation. By using this method, they will receive 100 percent of your donation.