Phony charities are big business for scammers who prey upon generous people who think they are contributing to help those in need. I have written many times over the years about a wide variety of phony charities and the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others to shut them down. Recently the FTC in cooperation with 46 different agencies from 38 states shut down a huge telemarketing charity scam through which Associated Community Services (ACS) and a number of affiliated companies used illegal robocalls to raise more than 110 million dollars of charitable donations for phony charities. While federal law allows you to be called for charitable solicitations even if you are on the Federal Do Not Call List (which I urge you to enroll in), charities are not allowed to use robocalls to contact you for a charitable donation unless you have already given previously to the specific charity. In addition, whenever you are contacted on the phone, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a phony charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.
ACS collected donations for a wide variey of phony charities purporting to help breat cancer patients, families of children with cancer, homeless veterans and other needy people. Unfortunately, according to the FTC, these charities used as little as one-tenth of one percent of the money collected for their stated charitable purposes and kept the rest of the money for themselves.
Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message. Before you give to any charity, you may wish to check out the charity with http://www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs. Charitynavigator.org will also let you know how to most effectively contribute to particular charities you may be interested in.
Never trust your Caller ID to indicate the identity of who is really calling you because it is quite simple for a scammer to use a technique called “spoofing” to manipulate your Caller ID into making it appear that their calls are coming from a legitimate source.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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