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Charity Giving Scams

By Odesi Desko

The desire to help others is a common need among people. Many people help others through donations to a large assortment of charity and non-profit organizations. Sadly, scammers have begun to take advantage of people’s goodwill and generosity, creating schemes to deceive.

One charity scam which has been prevalent in the past few years is helping families and children overseas. The public is flooded with brochures and images on television predicting starving children or destitute families. The recipient is told how much their money will help and given an addressed envelope.

Although the intentions of the donor are sincere and intended to relieve the suffering of less fortunate people, it is unwise to give money to a charity without researching how the money is actually used. Frauds that have been exposed make it clear that the funds given to these alleged charitable organizations were instead used solely for the benefit of the organizers, and little or no money went to the needy. As a result, potential donors are suspicious of all charities, including the honest ones that use the money as advertised.

Charitable organizations use magazines, mailings, television, the Internet, and other means to reach a wide audience. Their requests typically start at ten dollars and go up from there. The advertising itself is expensive, and much of the money goes for this purpose.

In one instance, the organization was properly registered and did send money overseas. However, investigation revealed that ninety percent of the money received went for the overhead of the directors who received large salaries. This did not leave much for the charity purpose and was, in itself, a type of charity scam.

Charity scams are often very difficult to spot. They can be requests on behalf of the homeless, fighting animal cruelty, the poor, and nearly any other type of help. Although there are hundreds of charities that are authentic and do help, there are always those who are looking for an opportunity to profit from people’s generosity and use it to their own means.

To avoid being taken in by a charity scam it is very important to investigate the organization thoroughly. This can be done via the Internet, Better Business Bureau, the consumer complaint division, the government, or other means. If a telephone number and name is given it is important to use telephone services such as to verify if the caller is really whom they claim to be.

Volunteers that go from door to door with cans collecting for a familiar organization are certainly open to suspicion. There is no way to tell if the money is actually going to that charity or is being stolen by the individual collecting the funds. For a well-known and trusted organization, a mailed or hand-delivered gift will ensure that the money actually goes for its intended purpose.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Desko, Odesi "Charity Giving Scams." Charity Giving Scams. 1 Jul. 2010. 13 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Desko, O (2010, July 1). Charity Giving Scams. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Desko, Odesi "Charity Giving Scams"

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