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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Are they real? Offer's of donations, opportunities, work at home or is it a SCAM?

In talking about Life Matter's such as: Work-at-home, home business opportunites, charities, fundraising and those in need of assistance or those who want to donate and/or help, well unfortunately they come along with risks. Risks like those in the form of scammers and spammers! So watch out! It's hard to believe and to accept there are devious evil people out there who would do such a thing to another human being; nonetheless they are out there. According to several recent articles, news and reports I've researched from sites I have listed futher below, looks like scamming and spamming are going to be around for a while.

So where can you go for further information or help? What can you do? Besides using common sense, and keeping your eyes wide open. One of the greatest things one can do is REPORT THEM! Most people realize, IF it sound's to good to be true, it almost usually is. I know it may seem useless or bothersome, but that's the only way to stop them is to continue to report them.

For the latest news, information, and updates on spammers and scammers or to report them, you can go to the following links:

FTC Consumer Complaints -$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

and/or visit:

Another great resourceful website to visit is Give.Org - (The BBB Wise Giving Alliance) for those who are serious about wanting to help out or make donations to whatever their choice or causes. In addition to the above information, the website also gives tips (listed below) donors and/or recipients should also consider.

  • Donors should be wary of any charity that is inexperienced in carrying out relief efforts but is suddenly soliciting for hurricane assistance. Although well intentioned, such organizations may not have the ability to quickly deliver aid to those in need.
  • Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do to address the needs of victims and their families. Also see if the charity's appeal explains what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions remaining after they have fully funded the disaster relief activities mentioned in solicitations.
  • As with all other disaster relief situations, most relief charities prefer financial contributions rather than donated goods. This enables them to purchase needed items near the disaster relief site(s) for easier distribution. The collection and delivery of inappropriate donated items can also clog transportation channels and delay more vital items in getting through to disaster victims.
  • Donors can visit the charity reports section on the webisite to access detailed evaluative reports on many of the relief organizations providing assistance. If you do not see a report on the relief organization you have in mind, encourage the organization to enroll with the Alliance at so that the Alliance can prepare an evaluation in relation to the comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • If you contribute, do not give cash. Make a check or money order out to the name of the charitable organization, not to an individual collecting the donation.
  • If you decide to contribute online, find out more about the charity before making a contribution and beware of red flags. For example, some charities imitate the name and style of a well-known organization in order to confuse people. Also, be wary of any spam or email message asking you to make a contribution. In what is known as a "phishing" scam, such messages may link to a "false" website that looks just like the website of an established relief charity. This could be a ruse to get you to share your credit card or other personal information.
  • Watch out for excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations. Be wary of any request to send a "runner" to pick up your contribution.
  • Do not give your credit card number or other personal information to a telephone solicitor or in response to an email solicitation. Ask the caller or sender to provide you with written information on the charity's programs and finances.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for written information that describes the charity's program(s) and finances such as the charity's latest annual report and financial statements. Even newly created organizations should have some basic information available.
  • Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs. Ask how much of your gift will be used for the activity mentioned in the appeal and how much will go toward other programs and administrative and fund raising costs.
  • To help ensure your contribution is tax deductible, the donation should be made to a charitable organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Go to IRS Publication 78 on for a current list of all organizations eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable gifts.

Click here for Wise Giving Alliance reports on some charities involved in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

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