Lending a hand to those in need is a noble thing and many Americans donate to charities. There are some wonderful organizations out there; unfortunately there are many that are not so wonderful. Charity has become a big business. Some of these organizations are breaking the law and some are barely within the law.
There are groups that raise millions and a few thousand dollars gets to those that need it, the rest goes to administrative costs. The 9/11 terrorist attacks are a great example of these types of scams. An Associated Press investigation uncovered that of the 1.5 billion dollars raised by nonprofit charities for victims of the attacks, a large amount of that went unaccounted for.
One group raised $700,000, mostly from schoolchildren, to make a gigantic quilt. There is no quilt. Another group, the Sacred City nonprofit, raised $200,000. The founder of this organization, the Reverend Lyndon Harris, paid himself more than $125,000 and charged more than $3500 on dining expenses. Urban life Ministries was set up as a nonprofit organization to help families of first responders. It raised over 4 million dollars but can only account for $670,000. These are just a few of the many scams using 9/11 as a theme. With the 10 year anniversary coming up, watch out.
The FBI has issued a warning for people to be on alert for Hurricane Irene related fraud. In just about every disaster there are greedy individuals out to profit off of some people’s misery and other people’s compassion.
Please do not stop giving, just make sure the group you are donating to is a legitimate organization. Check them out with your local FBI office or the Better Business Bureau. If you think you fell victim to one of these scams contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721.