Sunday, May 31, 2009

Operation False Charity

The Federal Trade Commission, in cooperation of a number of attorneys general in various states, is conducting an exercise called "Operation False Charity" to shut down charities that aren't all that charitable. I'll be discussing one such charity in a post in my Empoprise-IE blog on Monday (it's a local charity based in the Inland Empire, and our state Attorney General, Jerry Brown, is going after the charity and several others).

However, this problem isn't just limited to California's Inland Empire, and the Federal Trade Commission has a web page called "Avoid Charity Fraud". Here are some excerpts from the page:

Many legitimate charities use telemarketing, direct mail, email and online ads to ask for contributions. Unfortunately, scam artists also use these techniques to pocket your money. If someone asks for a donation, take your time and familiarize yourself with the charity....

Simply having the words police, firefighter or veteran in an organization’s name doesn’t mean that these groups will benefit from the money raised. If you want to give to one of these causes, use a charity that has a good track record. Charities that pop up overnight can disappear just as quickly.

Read the rest here. And, as the whole Madoff case notes, scam artists will also try to use religion to extract money for fraudulent purposes. If someone claims to share your religious belief, you still need to check out the charity.

Oh, and if you want a sneak peek to know who I'll be writing about tomorrow, check this Daily Bulletin article by Joe Nelson that documents some of Jerry Brown's actions on Friday. Nelson also discusses Operation False Charity:

The lawsuits are intended to permanently stop the charities' "deceptive practices and require the repayment of all funds raised under false pretenses," according to a news release by Brown's office.

It is part of a nationwide sweep called "Operation False Charity" which also involves the Federal Trade Commission and 48 other states.
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