Among the many lies stated by Congressman George Santos of New York during his campaign was that he claimed that he created and ran an animal rescue charity called Friends of Pets United. According to Santos, his charity rescued 2,400 dogs and 280 casts and neutered and released more than 3,000 cats between 2013 and 2018. However, there is no record of the charity ever legally existing nor does it have a website. It is not registered with the Internal Revenue Service nor has it ever filed the IRS forms charities are required to file annually. It appears that anyone who donated to Santos’ charity were swindled.
Whenever you are solicited by a charity on the phone, you can never be sure who is really contacting you. Even if your Caller ID indicates that the call is coming from a legitimate charity, as I have mentioned many times, scammers use a simple technique called “spoofing” to manipulate your Caller ID to make their calls appear to come from a legitimate source when the truth is that the call is coming from a scammer. Similarly when you receive a text message or email solicitation for a charity, you have no way of knowing if the solicitation is from a scammer or a legitimate charity.
Phony charities often have names that sound legitimate and it is difficult to know merely from a solicitation whether or not the charity is a fake. Other times, scammers will use the name of a legitimate charity when they solicit you by phone, email or text message and you can never be sure when you are contacted by email or text message whether or not the solicitation is legitimate. Prior to giving to any charity, I suggest you first look into whether indeed the charity is legitimate or not and the best way I know to do that is to go to http://www.charitynavigator.org where not only can you find out whether the charity is a scam, but also whether or not your donation will be tax deductible, how much of your donation goes toward the charitable purposes of a legitimate charity and how much goes toward salaries, administrative costs and fund raising. Charitynavigator.org will also give you access to the websites and phone numbers of legitimate charities you may wish to consider giving to so you can feel confident when you make a gift that it is going to the right place.
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