October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, so National Breast Cancer Awareness Month seeks to educate the public about breast cancer, support those currently fighting breast cancer and breast cancer survivors, and raise money for research and other nonprofit causes.
Unfortunately, scammers try to exploit Breast Cancer Awareness by creating fake charities to steal generous donations or find other ways to rip you off in the name of charity. Other charities may be legitimate organizations but only give a very small percentage of donations to the actual cause.
To avoid a charity scam during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2013, here are 6 Scambook tips:
How To Avoid a Breast Cancer Charity Scam
1. Don’t respond to unsolicited spam emails from charitable organizations. If you don’t remember signing up for the charity’s mailing list, it may be fraudulent.
2. Be skeptical when dealing with individuals who say they’re soliciting donations for a charity. If approached by a “volunteer” at your home, work or a public place, don’t give out any money or personal information if you feel uncomfortable.
Remember, you can always ask for the organization’s info (such as a website address), research them online and make a donation later.
3. Don’t click spam email links or download attachments. This may install a virus or other malware on your computer.
4. Make direct donations, don’t use a third-party. If you want to donate to breast cancer research or any other charity this month, do it yourself or make sure you give your donation to a friend or family member you know you can trust. Never give a cash donation to a stranger if you’re uncomfortable.
5. Use online tools to verify the charity and make sure your money goes where it’s needed. By searching on sites like GuideStar or CharityNavigator.org, you’ll
be able to verify whether an organization is real or a scam. As an additional bonus, you can also use these sites to find out what percentage of your donation will actually go to the cause.
6. Keep all donation records in a safe, secure place. If you are charged twice or observe any other suspicious financial activity after making your donation, keeping records will help you dispute the transaction.
Additionally, charity scammers may try to fool you by cold-calling or sending emails thanking you for a previous donation. If you can verify all past donations, you will be able to see through this ruse.
Remember to Read the Fine Print!
It’s also important to read the fine print any time you’re making a donation, or even if you’re considering buying Breast Cancer Awareness items like bracelets, t-shirts or bumper stickers.
Many companies offer special pink versions of their products during Breast Cancer Awareness Month but there may be a limit on how much of the sale proceeds actually go to the cause.
Still, other pink Breast Cancer Awareness merchandise may not benefit any victims, survivors or cancer research at all. Unless you really want that pink ribbon t-shirt, you may be better off just donating $20 to an organization.
Share Your Breast Cancer Awareness Stories
Has someone in your life been affected by breast cancer? We’d love to hear your inspirational stories in the comments.
3 New Anti-Scam Tips for Donating to Philippines Typhoon Relief Aid Charity
6 Tips to Avoid Fake Charity Scams During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Police Charge Scammer For Defrauding Boston Marathon Bombing Charity