Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Beware the Grinches who steal Christmas

By
From page OSF2 | December 12, 2013 | Leave Comment

Throughout the world people believe in spreading holiday cheer by giving to a charity. As this spirit of giving grows, so too do the eyes of scam artists who pose as charitable organizations in order to cash in on the spirit of giving.

According to research from the Center on Philanthropy, the average person makes nearly a quarter of his or her annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. The FBI warns that this time of year is prime for scam artists to take advantage of people’s generosity. Seniors are particularly targeted by scam artists because they tend to have good credit and a guaranteed source of income in the form of Social Security or other pension benefits.

To help ensure that only real charities benefit from your generosity, consider following these smart giving tips.

Warning signs that a charity may be a scam

Scammers employ several tactics to confuse and pressure seniors. A common ploy is using an organization name similar to a well-known charity or its logo.

Frequently, scammers pressure seniors to donate, both over the phone and in person, by talking quickly and demanding a quick answer. A legitimate charity will always take the time to give you any information necessary about their cause or organization.

Another warning sign is a charity that insists you pay with cash. A legitimate charity will never insist on a cash donation.

Also, Charity Watch, an organization that rates charities, advises people not to feel pressured into donating when they receive gifts such as holiday mailing labels or gift wrapping. Charity Watch reminds people that it is illegal for a charity to demand money for a gift that they did not order.

If a charity says that 100 percent of your donation will go directly to the cause, you should take a closer look at the charity. Charity Navigator, another group that rates charities and serves as a resource for donors, states an efficient charity will spend around 25 percent of donations for administrative costs and fundraising. Therefore, if a charity makes a 100-percent claim, it is likely to be either a scam or a misrepresentation.

How to protect yourself from scams

Although hearing about these scams may be disheartening, there are ways to ensure your generosity truly goes to those in need.

First, there is no such thing as too much information. If you are not familiar with a charity or it seems suspect, make sure to ask questions. Charities should be happy to give you this information in order to make you feel secure about donating to them.

The Federal Trade Commission advises people to ask if the person soliciting on behalf of a charity is a for-profit telemarketer. The solicitor must disclose that information. Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, you may ask the for-profit telemarketer the name of the charity, the percentage of the donation that will go to the charity, how much will go to the actual cause, and how much will go to the fundraiser.

If you have more questions, ask the charity to send you their annual report or direct you to information on the Internet. Also, if you do not have access to a computer, ask for a brochure with the charity’s financial information.

Second, a charity may be tax-exempt, but that does not guarantee that your donation is tax-deductible. You can check whether a charity can receive tax-deductible contributions on www.irs.gov and search for “tax deductible charitable contributions.”

Third, the FBI and the FTC suggest paying with a check, or if you must, with a debit or credit card. A check is not only easier to cancel, but easier to track.

Finally, verify that a charity is legitimate. You can check with the California Attorney General at www.oag.ca.gov/charities, or your local Better Business Bureau at http://goldengate.bbb.org/charity/. To research the reputation of a charity you can check online at www.charitywatch.org or www.charitynavigator.org.

If you believe you have been a victim of a charity scam or would like to report a suspicious charity, you can file a complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov, the attorney general, or your local Better Business Bureau.

Antonio Valdez is a senior project staff attorney with Legal Services of Northern California.

Antonio Valdez

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 3 Comments

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 13 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7