Be Charitable WiselyOnce in a while we post a blog that isn't even about painting or our company but something that we feel is beneficial to our customers. Approaching the season of giving, I believe this information is valuable.
Often at the holiday season we are feeling especially grateful and generous and want to help others by donating to charitable causes. For Brooks Painting, that typically means local charities that we are familiar with and we know exactly where our contribution is going. But a lot of people are moved by charitable causes that they don’t really have any direct knowledge of and, unfortunately, there are charity scams out there that are looking to take advantage of your goodwill. Before you get generous with an organization or charity, make sure you really know that they are legitimate and that your money is going where you think it is. Visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity for signs of a charity scam and tips on how to research before you give. Some highlights from their page on how to avoid charity scams:
- Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number.
- Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Searching the name of the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam”— is one way to learn about its reputation.
- Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser. If so, ask:
- The name of the charity they represent
- The percentage of your donation that will go to the charity
- How much will go to the actual cause to which you’re donating
- How much will go to the fundraiser
- Keep a record of your donations.
- Never send cash donations. For security and tax purposes, it’s best to pay by check — made payable to the charity — or by credit card.
- Never wire money to someone claiming to be a charity. Scammers often request donations to be wired because wiring money is like sending cash: once you send it, you can’t get it back.
- Do not provide your credit or check card number, bank account number or any personal information until you’ve thoroughly researched the charity.