Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–December 5, 2002–According to an ancient proverb, it is better to give than to receive-that is, unless you are giving to a con artist, warns Chief Postal Inspector Lee Heath. “Swindlers know that people tend to be in a more giving mood during the holidays,” says Heath. “So among the solicitations you receive this year from legitimate charities, expect to find some that are misrepresentations, or outright fraud.”
To guard against falling prey to a phony charity, Heath offers these suggestions:
–If you are unfamiliar with the charity asking for donations, request its annual report and financial statement.
–Check out unfamiliar organizations by contacting the Better Business Bureau.
–Make checks payable to an organization, not an individual.
–Be suspicious about requests for assistance that accept cash donations only.
Individuals who wish to do a more extensive background check of a charitable organization may also contact the Wise Giving Alliance, Council of Better Business Bureaus, 4200 Wilson Blvd., Arllington, VA 22203, or visit their web site at http://www.give.org. To learn more, or to report fraud online, visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service web site at http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors.