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BBB Alert: Not All "Charities" are the Real Deal - KOAM TV 7

BBB Alert: Not All "Charities" are the Real Deal

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May 8, 2018—Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa and the American Cancer Society Kansas are warning consumers to be aware of fake charities that try to cash in on the generosity and compassion of potential donors. Scammers will steal your money by posing as a genuine charity. Not only do these scams cost you money, they also divert much-needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.

The American Cancer Society in Wichita has reported that cancer patients and their loved ones have been receiving calls from solicitors asking for donations for breast cancer to the "American Cancer Association." This is an example of a phony charity mimicking the name of the American Cancer Society – a well-known and respected organization. The scammer is hoping to fool a potential victim into donating. BBB advises that if you receive any kind of charity solicitation or if you would like to support cancer charities, do your research first to make sure your contributions go to actual causes and not scammers' pockets.

How the Scam Works:

Fake charity approaches occur all year round. The solicitation may be a postcard or letter in the mail, an email message, a social media post, a person going door-to-door or a phone call. Scammers may also set up fake websites which look similar to those operated by real charities.

Scammers pose as either agents of legitimate, well-known charities or create their own charity name. This can include charities that conduct medical research or support patients with serious diseases. They may also pose as individuals needing donations for health or other reasons.

Scammers may also play on your emotions by claiming to help children who are ill.

Tips to Spot This Scam:

• Be sure about the request. Many appeals are distributed by well-meaning people through email and social media sites, but you can't assume your friends have vetted the charities they ask you to support.

• Watch out for name confusion. Many phony charities mimic the names of well-known and respected organizations, hoping to fool you into donating.

• Check it out. BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) has charity reports on more than 11,000 charities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as smart giving tips (give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/).

• To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

• To learn how to protect yourself, go to 10 Steps to Avoid Scams at bbb.org/avoidscams/.

• You've never heard of the charity before, or it is well-known but you suspect the website, email or letter may be a fake. A fake website may look almost identical to a legitimate charity site, changing only the details of where to send donations.

• The person collecting donations on behalf of the charity does not have any identification. Remember, even if they do have identification, it could be forged or meaningless.

• You are put under pressure or made to feel guilty or selfish if you don't want to donate.

• You are asked to provide a cash donation because they don't accept personal checks or credit cards. Or, they want the check to be made out to them rather than to the charity.

• You are not given a receipt, or they give you a receipt that does not have the charity's details on it.

ABOUT BBB: Better Business Bureau has been assisting U.S consumers and businesses since 1912. It is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing trust in the marketplace. In 2017, BBB provided nearly 225 million instances of service to businesses, charities and the general public. BBB has Business Profiles on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on over 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. Today, BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is supported by approximately 10,000 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB's Standards of Trust.

ABOUT AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.

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BAILEY LAUERMAN, 1299 Farnam Street, 14th Floor, Omaha, NE 68102 United States

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