Avoiding Charity Scams of All Types and Sizes

December 4, 2008 9:37:19 AM PST
When a disaster strikes, people open their wallets to help those in need. But unfortunately, charity scams often spring up as well. Trent Stamp, the executive director of Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization that evaluates the financial health of charities, told "Good Morning America" how to give wisely.

Give to an Established Charity

There are a number of Web sites you can visit to research legitimate organizations, including:

  • Charity Navigator: charitynavigator.org
  • The Better Business Bureau: give.org
  • Guide Star -- a database of non-profit organizations: guidestar.org
  • You also can call or visit the Web site of your state attorney general's office to check a charity or have them investigate a possible charity scam.

    Designate Your Gift

    Don't be afraid to be assertive and have your donation earmarked.

    Avoid Telemarketers The easiest way to get scammed is to pledge money over the phone. You can get a number from the telemarketer and call the company back. But Stamp recommends just hanging up, because most reputable charities don't use telemarketers, and callers can receive a hefty chunk of your donation.

    Research and Follow Up

    Be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out how your donation was put to use and if they need additional support to complete the recovery efforts. Think of it as checking up on your investments. Stamp said good charities want to brag, so they will happily answer your questions.

    Story published on ABCNews.com


  • Load Comments