Advertisements for phony charities are starting to appear on Craigslist. A particularly despicable one that was uncovered this week is for a phony charity asking for donations to help pay for the medical costs of a soldier wounded in Afghanistan. The advertisement features the picture of Sean Fennerty, who was actually killed in Iraq in 2007. The advertisement asks for donations and for people to share the advertisement on Twitter and Facebook along with a link to a website to make donations. The family of the fallen soldier, as you can well imagine is quite upset to have their son used in this way by scammers.
This particular type of scam is quite new, but in many ways the attempt to appeal to our sympathy, generosity and patriotism is nothing new. There are many phony charities and you should never give to a charity until you have checked it out to make sure that it is legitimate. Even with “legitimate” charities, you may be interested to learn how much of what they collect actually goes toward their charitable purposes and how much for administrative expenses. All of this you can learn by going to the free website www.charitynavigator.org.