1) If you are unsure if a charitable organization is legitimate, ask the following questions:
- What are the charity’s name, headquarters address, phone number and website address?
- How long has it been in operation?
- What is the money used for?
- What percentage of the donation goes to the actual service and how much goes to fundraising?
- What is the first and last name of the person you are speaking with?
If the solicitor cannot or will not answer these basic questions about the charity or uses pressure tactics to obtain a donation, DO NOT GIVE! It is not rude to simply say that you are not interested and hang up.
2) Florida Law gives you the right to request and receive a copy of a charity’s financial report before donating. Ask for it.
3) If you decide to give…never give cash. Contribute by check and make it out directly to the charitable organization.
4) Just because a “charity” sounds official…it may not be. Sometimes scammers will use a name that “sounds” legitimate to put the donor at ease.
5) Never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or social security numbers.
6) To verify a Charitable Organization or for further information about a charity, you can call the Florida Division of Consumer Services 1-800-435-7352 or visit their website at www.800helpfla.com.
7) National “Do Not Call” Registry
- Most telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the “National Do Not Call Registry”.
- You can now register your home and mobile numbers for FREE, and your registration will be effective for 5 years. To register call 1-888-382-1222 or visit their website at www.donotcall.gov.
- Will registering stop all calls? No, placing your number of the national registry will stop most, but not all telemarketing calls. You may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors or companies with which you have an existing business relationship.