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03/16/2011 - After the earthquake that rocked Japan’s northeast coast and triggered a widespread tsunami last week, the Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to be cautious of potential charity scams.
The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, warns consumers to carefully consider urgent appeals for aid that they receive in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites.
Ask for the name of the charity if the telemarketer does not provide it promptly;
Ask what percentage of your donation will support the cause described in the solicitation;
Verify that the charity has authorized the solicitation;
Do not provide any credit card or bank information until you have reviewed all information from the charity and made the decision to donate;
Ask for a receipt showing the amount of the contribution and stating that it is tax deductible; and
Avoid cash gifts. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by check – made payable to the beneficiary, not the solicitor.