Questions From Listeners: Charity Scam?

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- I thought we could spend this week answering questions from listeners. The questions are composites of the many questions we get here at WBZ radio.

We also hear from listeners that they have missed part of a segment or didn’t have time to write down a website. Well you can find these segments online here at WBZ.

This came in last month from a listener, he wrote: I received an "invoice" from the Associated Breast Cancer Centers thanking me for my $20 "pledge" on September 20th.  The invoice listed my name, address and phone. (1) I had never heard of this group.  (2) I do not make pledges over the phone to anyone. This sounds to me like a possible scam directed at older folks who are concerned that they might have forgotten about making such a commitment.

I checked out the Associated Breast Cancer Centers and could not find them on the IRS’ website. Then I Googled them, and many similar sites came up. Then I tried the Charity Navigator, a wonderful charity watch dog, and they had nothing listed for them either. The name sounds very similar to other charities and that is what the scammer counts on. That you think it is indeed legitimate.

Scammers know that as we age our memories often fail us and they prey on older consumers. It is indeed very easy to get names and phone numbers and send out phony invoices. And the stationery and logos look very similar to real charities.

If you wish to donate to a charity try and use the well-known charities that have a track record that you

can check out. Using tools like allows you to check out the charities and see exactly how your donation dollars are being used. How much goes to the charitable work, how much goes to the administration and how much goes to fundraising.

I believe donating locally is also another way to see how your dollars are spent. So if you want to make a donation to help the fight against breast cancer, donate to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

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