Archive for the ‘Federal Agencies’ Category

Income Tax Scams – WABI-TV

Russ and Joy talk about scammers that take advantage of the income tax season to gain personal information from you.

Tuesday’s deadline for filing income taxes has the scam artists in high gear. They’ll email, and sometimes call, saying they are Internal Revenue Service officials and that you owe taxes. They will demand payment, often by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or by giving your credit card number, threatening jail-time, revoking your driver’s license and more if you don’t pay up.

Russ says not to fall for any of these ploys. The IRS will not email or call you, they will use regular mail as a primary means of communication. Russ also warns you to be wary of any phone calls, as these scammers may know such information as the last four numbers of your social security number, they may use fake phone numbers and badge numbers to appear more legitimate, and the may even go as far as calling back with threats posing as the police or the department of motor vehicles.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning businesses that emails with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” are NOT from the FTC. They are from scammers claiming that someone has filed a complaint with the FTC about their company. Clicking on attachments could download a virus or other malware onto your computer, just delete them.

For more on malicious emails, visit http://www.onguardonline.gov/malware.

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes – FTC

FTC Warns Small Businesses: Don’t Open Email Falsely Claiming to be From FTC‏

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes | Consumer Information.

Have you gotten an email with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” that looks like it came from the FTC? The email warns that a complaint against you has been filed with the FTC. It asks you to click on a link or attachment for more information or to contact the FTC.

These emails pull out all the stops to look official: They have an FTC seal, references to the “Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)” and a “formal investigation,” and what look like real FTC links. The truth is that they’re fakes.

We’ve heard from many people that emails like this are making the rounds. If you get one, don’t open it. Don’t click on the links. If you click on the link, it may install malware on your computer. Malware can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. You can forward the email to spam@uce.gov, but then delete as soon as you do.

Wal-Mart Recalls Dolls Due to Burn Hazard | CPSC.gov

Hazard: The circuit board in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

About 174,000

Description

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16 inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging. The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code which begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Incidents/Injuries

Wal-Mart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

Remedy

Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

Sold exclusively at

Walmart stores nationwide from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.

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Fraudulent huckster’s reward: 10 easy payments of one year each

 

CONSUMER FORUM

 

By Russ Van Arsdale, executive director Northeast CONTACT

 

Posted March 23, 2014, at 12:24 p.m.

 

One of the most familiar faces on American infomercials was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison. Following prior dealings with the legal system, Kevin Trudeau continued to lash out at corporate and government figures he accused of being corrupt.

That changed at last Monday’s sentencing for contempt. According to the Chicago Tribune, Trudeau’s defiant attitude gave way to a more contrite demeanor, a change the convicted fraudster attributed to his first night behind bars.

Kevin Trudeau first came to Northeast CONTACT’s attention through a product called Coral Calcium Supreme. In some of his infomercials Trudeau claimed taking it would cure cancer. Those claims violated an earlier court order banning false health claims by Trudeau, and he was hit with more sanctions as a result.

Trudeau made his name in a series of late-night TV ads, touting sure-fire diets and products that supposedly delivered a number of health benefits. The ads were long on promises and, according to most consumers, short on delivery.

Investigators say Trudeau amassed a fortune through sales of his products and books. His undoing revolved mostly around claims he made in his infomercials about his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”

The best-selling author had boasted that his diet plan was easy. But people who suffered through the 500-calorie-a-day regimen said it was anything but easy. Investigators with the Federal Trade Commission agreed and told Trudeau to stop making those claims. He refused, saying he was the target of zealous regulators and prosecutors.

Last August, the FTC hit Trudeau with a $37.6 million fine; the money was supposed to go to the hundreds of thousands of people who had bought his book based on his inflated infomercial claims.

Trudeau dug in, refusing to pay a nickel. His continued refusals resulted in a contempt case, which Trudeau lost.

At his sentencing last week, Judge Ronald Guzman pointed to a career built on fraud and called Trudeau “deceitful to the core.”

Trudeau had served nearly two years in federal prison in the 1990s after being convicted on two fraud charges. Last Monday, prosecutors said his record of fraud goes back to the mid-1980s.

Throughout his career, Kevin Trudeau struck a chord, both with conspiracy theorists and with searchers for miracle cures and other easy answers to life’s complex problems. If 10 years seems like too much for Trudeau to deal with, we offer him a suggestion.

Think of it as 10 easy payments of one year each.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS: Scammers are making hay out of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Phony stories are appearing on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, mostly claiming the plane has turned up, survivors found and so on.

Instructions to “click here” should be ignored; the insensitive crooks are just trying to get you to answer questions that will get your money to them, or to infect your computer with malware.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

 

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When the taxman cometh, make sure he’s really the taxman

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast CONTACT

Posted Jan. 26, 2014, at 9:50 a.m. 

As the story went, the Internal Revenue Service was threatening people who had not filed their income tax returns by Jan. 31 with $10,000 fines.

The story was a hoax, of course. But similar threats are often treated as real, with terrified recipients of bogus emails and phone calls taking a panicky road to losing money.

Tax scams are high on the list of ploys that scammers use to try to steal identities. Dollar losses run into the billions every year. The IRS says scammers who call potential victims often:

— Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number;

— Make caller ID appear that the IRS is really calling;

— Send fake emails to reinforce the scam;

— Use common names, phony IRS badge numbers and threaten victims with jail time or revocation of their drivers licenses;

— Call again, claiming to be police or the Department of Motor Vehicles — and caller ID again that appears to back them up.

Scammers who call with a little of your personal information can prompt you to give them enough data to steal your identity and file a false return. The IRS is watching for such fraud, but it’s still a major problem.

Federal officials advise, if you get such a phone call and you owe or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS staff can help answer your payment questions. If you don’t owe taxes and get such a call, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Include “IRS Telephone Scam” in your comments.

Businesses may be targets of scammers, too. Owners should watch for offers that are too good to be true (they are) or that require fees in advance. Reject any claim that “the IRS is giving away money” or that you can use outlandish write-offs. Also avoid “consultants” who want to create dummy corporations, hide money offshore or divert funds into trusts as tax dodges.

Scammers rifle through tax liens to see who’s in trouble, then offer “relief,” which means you pay them and get nothing. Some tax preparers can get you in trouble; they may make false claims to get a healthy return deposited to a bank account, then cut you a check for a fraction of the amount.

If someone else prepares your return, read it before signing; it’s still your responsibility to see that everything’s accurate. Don’t do business with a preparer who asks for a percentage of the refund you’re expecting. Do research on the preparer’s track record. Look for a Tax Preparer Identification Number (issued by the IRS) on your return. And never agree to have your return deposited in the preparer’s account.

Learn more about tax scams online at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

15 minutes of game: Getting to the core of the FTC’s $32.5 million settlement with Apple | BCP Business Center

By Lesley Fair
January 15, 2014 – 12:30pm

It’s a simple concept really:  Companies shouldn’t charge people for stuff without their express consent.  That’s the law – and it’s always been the law.  So when a company chooses to implement a billing process that, in effect, opens a tab for kids and lets them place “all sales final” charges on their parents’ credit cards with the click of a button – and without Mom or Dad’s express consent – it shouldn’t come as a surprise when law enforcement follows.  That’s the story behind the FTC’s proposed settlement with Apple, which will return at least $32.5 million to consumers.

To paraphrase Andy Warhol’s quote about 15 minutes of fame, the FTC’s complaint focuses on 15 minutes of game – a built-in default period when those unauthorized charges could be racked up.  But first, a bit of background on how Apple’s billing process works.  Before consumers can download anything from the iTunes Store, they have to link their account to a credit or debit card.  When people download an app or buy something within an app, Apple bills their iTunes account and pockets 30% of the revenue.  From start to finish, the billing process is Apple’s baby.  The company controls exactly how it’s done.

Apple offers thousands of apps – including many games featured in the Kids or Family section of the iTunes Store – that let users buy things within the app.  Maybe it’s “food” for an imaginary pet or “gold” that can rev up the gaming experience.  The Magical Pixie Dust may be virtual, but it costs cold, hard cash in the form of charges to the device owner’s iTunes account.  And Pixie Dust doesn’t come cheap these days;  in-app charges can range from 99 cents up to almost $100 per click.

Here’s where that 15-minute window becomes critical.  If a child is playing a game and wants to make an in-app charge, Mom or Dad typically has to key in their password and then hand the device back to the kid to continue playing.  But according to the FTC’s complaint, what Apple didn’t explain is that it stores the password for 15 minutes.  That means all in-app charges made during that 15-minute window are incurred without the account holder having to re-enter the password.  In effect, without telling parents, Apple set up a 15-minute “Put it on my tab” period where Moms and Dads were responsible for charges they didn’t expressly authorize.  That happened even in apps rated for, say, four-year-olds – not a group likely to grasp the concept that pressing a button or two can run up a bill rivaling what a family spends in a week on groceries.  For example, the “Tiny Zoo Friends” app, which Apple has rated for kids 4 and up, lets players buy a quantity of “Zoo Bucks” at a cost of $99.  And remember:  Apple has an “all sales final” policy.

Furthermore, up until the release of Apple’s latest operating system in September 2013, when a child playing a game tried to make the first in-app charge, a BUY button appeared that the kid could click.  What showed up next was a pop-up identical to the password prompt that appears before the installation of an app.  The trouble is nowhere did that password prompt explain it was for a purchase.  So if a kid clicked BUY and then passed the device to Mom or Dad for their password, the parent had no way of knowing that the routine act of entering their password resulted in a charge – much less that it opened that 15-minute window when unauthorized charges could be added.  (Click on the picture to see how that worked.)  That payment process isn’t entirely a thing of the past.  For people who haven’t upgraded their operating system, that’s still what happens.

The financial injury in this case isn’t speculative.  Apple received tens of thousands of complaints from consumers about unauthorized in-app charges by kids.  For example, one Mom reported that her daughter’s clicks resulted in $2600 in unauthorized purchases in the “Tap Pet Hotel” app.  Others reported $500 in surprise in-app charges when kids played “Dragon Story” and “Tiny Zoo Friends.”

The FTC’s proposed order requires Apple to change its practices to make sure it has account holders’ express, informed consent before billing them for in-app charges.  If people give their OK to be billed for future charges but then change their mind, the order gives them the right to withdraw their consent at any time.  You’ll want to check the order’s definition of “express, informed consent” in this context, but here are some salient features:  It requires an affirmative act communicating authorization for the in-app charge – like entering a password  – that has to be close to both the in-app activity Apple is billing the user for and to a clear and conspicuous disclosure of material information about the charge.  Apple must have those billing changes up and running by March 31, 2014.

As part of the proposed settlement, Apple will provide at least $32.5 million in refunds to people who were billed for accidental or unauthorized in-app charges incurred by kids.  How will the refund program operate?  Apple has to send an electronic notice to customers with directions on how to get their money back.  And it’s not just a “take Apple’s word for it” provision.  The order requires the company to hand over to the FTC records of refund requests, refunds paid, and any refunds denied.

What messages can other companies can take from the FTC’s proposed settlement?

First, get people’s express consent before billing them.  That’s Consumer Protection 101 for app developers, app sellers, advertisers, payment processors, and anyone else in the marketing ecosystem who wants to avoid the scrutiny of law enforcers and the ire of outraged consumers.

Second, especially when it comes to merchandise geared toward kids, think through your processes in advance to minimize the risk that a child’s quick click could result in hefty unauthorized charges unknown to the parent until they get the bill.

Weight-loss scams prey on the unsuspecting

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director Northeast CONTACT
Posted Jan. 12, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
If your New Year’s resolution to lose weight hasn’t gained traction, check out this website. I know, you’ve heard that pitch before, but this one is different … really.

The website (wemarket4u.net/fatfoe/) touts the wonders of FatFoe, an eggplant extract in capsule form that “binds with food to block the absorption of fat, carbs AND calories. Lose up to 10 pounds per week,” the ad continues, and it’s “GUARANTEED to work for everyone.”

In the too-good-to-be-true department, this one tops the list. However, when you try to click and buy FatFoe, you’re redirected to another website that admits FatFoe isn’t real. The fake site was put together by the Federal Trade Commission and Competition Bureau of Canada to educate consumers about weight-loss hoaxes.

Among the red-flag claims in hoax ads:

— You can lose weight without diet or exercise.

— You can eat all the high-calorie foods you like and still lose weight.

— A product can make you lose three pounds a week for more than four weeks.

— A product will make you lose weight permanently, and it works for everyone.

The educational website concludes that the only thing you’re guaranteed to lose is your money.

That website was launched in 2004 as part of “Operation Big Fat Lie,” a multi-pronged effort by the FTC to crack down on losses to consumers that likely run into the billions of dollars. At that time, Maine joined the FTC in suing a firm based in Scarborough for making false claims about a topical gel and dietary supplement. The company agreed to pay $100,000 to consumers to settle the charges.

Just last week, the FTC settled with marketers of Sensa and three other fad products. Ads for Sensa said, “sprinkle, eat and lose weight.” Under the settlement, sellers of Sensa agreed to pay $26.5 million to consumers who bought it and to stop making unfounded claims.

The latest crackdown is termed “Operation Failed Resolution.” The FTC also announced it’s charging L’Occitane, which claimed a skin cream could somehow cause users to lose weight. The agency also is charging HCG Diet Direct for marketing an unproven human hormone for weight loss. The FTC also announced a partial settlement of a case against LeanSpa, LLC, which allegedly set up fake news websites to promote acai berry and “colon-cleanse” supplements as weight-loss aids.

If you think you may be entitled to some compensation, check this FTC-run website: http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds. It lists a number of companies the FTC has pursued with contact information. The FTC is still working out the ways consumers might be compensated, so you may not get an answer right away.

To see the FatFoe website and similar sites warning of phony health claims, work-at-home schemes and more, visit wemarket4u.net.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

 

Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Offers Guidance for End of Year Charitable Contributions

Charitable Scams Can be More Prevalent This Time of Year  

GARDINER  –  As many Maine families consider holiday season and end of year charitable contributions, Governor Paul R. LePage and Commissioner Anne Head from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation are encouraging Maine residents to check the legitimacy of unknown charities.  Potential donors are urged to always research charitable organizations before making a donation.  A quick check with the Department can provide information to help in determining whether a charity is legitimate or a scam.

“Maine people are well known for lending a hand to others and for supporting charities,” Governor LePage said.  “We saw that earlier this week with the successful conclusion of the Maine State Employees Combined Charitable, which has raised nearly $270,000 to help those in need.  We always encourage charitable giving and want to assist donors in directing their support to legitimate charities.”

Charitable organizations are required to be licensed with the Department’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which collects information about charitable activity in Maine and makes it available to the public.

“Charitable solicitation scams aren’t new, but they sometimes increase during the holiday season, at the end of the year, and in the aftermath of tragedies,” Commissioner Head said.  “It’s important for the public to know that guidance and resources are available to assist people in making sure their contributions are going to real charities.”

Commissioner Head advises individuals to ask questions and seek printed information about unknown charities; to confirm their legitimacy with regulators; to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so; to always keep receipts of donations; and to report concerns or complaints about questionable solicitations with the Department and law enforcement.

Information about charities can be obtained through the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr), specifically atwww.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions.  Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8525.

Additional tips and advice accompany this news release and can also be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/charityfraud/).

The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation protects the citizens of Maine and supports the economy through the oversight of State-chartered financial institutions, the insurance industry, grantors of consumer credit, the securities industry, and numerous professions providing services to the public.  More information is available at www.maine.gov/pfr.

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Tips and Advice When Considering Charitable Giving

December, 2013

  • Always research unknown charities before contributing.  And whether the charity is new or well established, you may wish to know what percentage of your contribution is spent on fundraising, employee compensation, or expenses which do not directly support the charity’s stated purpose.
  • Not all organizations with names that sound like charities are actually charities.  Some organizations select names that are similar to those of well-known charities.
  • Be cautious when contacted by telephone for a contribution.  Ask that the request be put in writing.  You may also want to ask if the caller is a paid solicitor or a volunteer for the charity.
  • Never give your bank account information or credit/debit card numbers to a caller.  And be wary if the person soliciting the contribution is willing to have someone rush to your home or business to meet with you and pick up a contribution.
  • If you wish to receive a tax deduction, make sure the organization has a tax deductible status with the Internal Revenue Service. “Tax exempt,” “non-profit,” and “tax deductible” mean different things.  Only “tax deductible” means contributions are deductible on your income tax return.  Visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov/charities) for more information.
  • Be wary of organizations which list only post office boxes or mail drop suite numbers as their address.  You may wish to inquire about the charity’s location.

 

JP Morgan Chase data breach may have affected 1,300 Mainers

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast CONTACT
Posted Dec. 15, 2013, at 1:01 p.m.
Breach. It’s a word that strikes fear in the hearts of company CEOs, bankers and consumer protection officials everywhere.
The breach of J.P. Morgan Chase and Company’s computer data may have affected as many as 465,000 consumers. But it’s the company’s response — rather than the breach itself — that is drawing the most media attention.

The breach occurred sometime in July and affected data on holders of U-Cards. Those are debit cards Chase issues to a variety of government bodies to pay claimants of unemployment insurance and other benefits. In Maine, roughly 1,300 people who collect unemployment benefits via the U-Cards may have been affected.

Data on claimants is usually encrypted in the Chase servers. However, during the breach some of that data appeared as plain text, there for the hackers to read. The data may have included claimants’ card numbers, dates of birth, user ID and email addresses. Their personal identification numbers apparently could not be viewed.

Maine uses unique identifiers, rather than Social Security numbers, to identify recipients. While many people whose data were accessed might understandably be concerned about their data being misused, the lack of connection to their SSNs should offer some comfort.

That does not mean those claimants should have no concerns. The Maine Department of Labor, which was informed Dec. 4 of the breach, is advising people who have the U-Cards to check their accounts for any suspicious activity. While state officials don’t believe the breach resulted in any loss of funds, they can’t check individual accounts; they suggest recipients call Chase’s customer service number at 866-315-1011 to be sure.

Chase officials have said, since there was no loss of funds, they don’t plan to issue new cards to those whose data were involved in the breach. Chase spokesman Michael Fusco is quoted as saying the bank acted appropriately.

“When we detected this issue, our first priority was to protect our systems, cardholders’ data and accounts,” Fusco said. After an internal investigation to find out what accounts and data might have been exposed, Chase alerted authorities and started notifying affected cardholders.

The word didn’t reach the Maine Department of Labor until Dec. 4, although the breach was discovered in mid-September. That gap did not make people like Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette happy. “The Department of Labor is looking into the situation surrounding the breach and why we were not informed sooner of this event,” Paquette said in a news release Dec. 6.

Maine law requires notification of those whose data were breached “without unreasonable delay” or, when law enforcement officials advise that notification will no longer impede their investigation, within seven days. Some consumer advocates are suspicious of longer delays, suspecting that companies whose data have been breached may shop around for sympathetic cops to approve delays while the firms get their ducks in a row.

The investigation into the Chase breach is continuing. Affected Mainers might also want to get a free credit report (we’re entitled to one each year from the three reporting agencies). Find the free ones online at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Donate?? Federal Trade Commission

December 9, 2013
by
Carol Kando-Pineda
Attorney, FTC

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you may be thinking about donating to your favorite charities. This time of year also brings more attention to our deployed personnel, their families living stateside and our veterans. Lots of folks wonder how they can support the troops. Many organizations tout themselves as a way to give back to those who serve. But not all charities are legitimate – some are out to make a buck for themselves. Some spend more money paying their fundraisers than supporting the military community. Here are a few things you can do to prevent shady groups from cashing in on the cachet of the military.

Find out if they’re playing the name game. Just because an organization has the words “veterans” or “military families” in its name is no guarantee that veterans or the families of active-duty personnel will benefit from your donation. Some phony charities use names, seals and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations – or they may claim veteran status themselves as a way to gain your trust. You may see a small difference in the name of the charity from the one you mean to deal with; in that case, call the organization you know to be legitimate and check it out. The U.S. Department of Defense doesn’t endorse any charity, but recommends contacting Military One Source to get information about military relief societies.

Dig into the facts before you dig into your wallet. Check out an organization before parting with your money. Donate to charities with a track record. Scam artists follow the headlines and charities that spring up literally overnight in connection with military conflicts and related news stories may disappear just as quickly – with your donation funding their next move. In many cases, those “instant charities” don’t have the infrastructure to get donated money or products to the right place.

Trust your gut. Check your records if you have any doubt about whether you’ve made a pledge or a contribution. Callers may try to trick you by thanking you for a pledge you didn’t make. If you don’t remember making the donation or don’t have a record of your pledge, resist the pressure to give.

Confirm their registration. Call the office that regulates charitable organizations and charitable solicitations to see if a charity or fundraising organization has to be registered in your state. If so, confirm whether the organization you’re considering is registered. For a list of state offices, visit the National Association of State Charity Officials. The organization also can verify how much of each donation goes to the charity, and how much goes to fundraising and management expenses. You also can check out charities with theBetter Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar.

Ask so you shall not be deceived. If you’re solicited for a donation, ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for and the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity and to the fundraiser. You may want to take your time to research this organization and other charitable groups. Then, you can make the best decision about what groups you want to support.

Learn more about making the most of your charitable donations. If you choose to support the troops this season, don’t let your donations fall fa-la-la-la flat.

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