TIP OF THE MONTH --- AVOID CHARITY FRAUD from the FTC
In the wake of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, the FTC is alerting people to choose carefully when considering urgent appeals for aid. The best way to provide immediate help is to donate money directly to established national relief organizations that have the experience and means to deliver aid. The FTC offers these tips on giving:
* Donate to recognized charities that you have given to before. Be skeptical about those that have sprung up overnight. They may be well-meaning, but they lack the infrastructure to provide assistance. And be aware that some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
* You don’t have to donate to someone who contacts you out of the blue with an unsolicited email, phone call or text message. It’s better to give through a website or phone number that you know is legitimate. Do not give out your personal or financial information – including your Social Security number or credit card and bank account numbers .
* Check out any charities before you donate. Contact the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.give.org/. For more tips on donating wisely, visit www.ftc.gov/charityfraud