Charity fraud occurs when unethical companies use deceptive sale pitches, on the phone or through the U.S. Mail, to solicit money from you. The caller will use a well-rehearsed sales pitch designed to sound believable.
Throughout the year — but especially during the holiday season, after a natural disaster or a tragic event — you will probably receive appeals urging you to contribute financially to a good cause. However, there are plenty of fraudulent operators who are scheming for your money and the last thing on their mind is charity. Not only do such come-ons bilk you out of your money, but they also put money you intended for the needy into the hands of con artists!
The best way to protect yourself is to learn to recognize a fraudulent offer. Beware of any high-pressure pitches that require immediate decisions! A legitimate business will give you time to think an offer over.
If you want to help take the time to research the organization contacting you. Legitimate charities will welcome your donation at any time. Also, relief efforts are almost always needed over a long period — enough time for you to check out a charity.
Remember, if the U.S. Mail was used in a crime, even if the crime began on the Internet, phone, or in person, report it to U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455, or at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.