Scammers are nothing if not enterprising and they will take advantage of the charitable impulses people may have following a natural disaster, such as the Tsunami in Japan or Hurricane Katrina to set up phony charities to separate you from your money. Sometimes you may receive a telemarketer’s phone call soliciting for a charity. It is important to remember that even if you wisely have put yourself on the federal Do Not Call List for telemarketers, the restrictions on calling do not apply to charities. Regardless, you never know who really is calling you when you receive a telephone call purporting to be from a charity, so if you are charitably inclined toward that particular charity, all you have to do is just contact the charity directly at an Internet address or telephone number you know is accurate. And never give out a credit card number to anyone on the phone whom you have not called and are sure as to who they are.
A good resource for not only determining if a charity is a scam or not, but also for learning how much of the charity’s funds are spent on administrative salaries and how much actually goes toward their charitable purposes is the free website www.charitynavigator.org.