Wanting to help people in your community and to make the world a better place is an admirable goal. Though finding the right charity to support can be challenging. Beyond finding a charity that is doing work that you feel is relevant and meaningful, you now have to consider if the charity is legitimate or not.
Charity fraud is a growing problem
The opportunity for bad people to commit charity fraud has increased along with the growth of the Internet. Misuse of charitable donations occurs on both large and small scales.
A New York couple will serve two to six years in prison and pay a $1.5 million (U.S.) fine for falsification of business records for their fake Coalition for Breast Cancer Cures charity. Donations were used by the couple for trips to Las Vegas and Amsterdam, purchasing expensive name brand merchandise, and payment of their daughter’s sorority dues.
Test your fraud awareness: federal law enforcement and an industry task force use LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com to provide tips, share victim stories, and to enable the public to become more informed about Internet fraud.
Research the charity: verify that the charity is listed on the Better Business Bureau’s National Charity Report Index or purchase a copy of the Charity Rating Guide from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Review the GuideStar database to verify that the organization is a legitimate non-profit.