10) Shady Charities
What It Is – Companies with names that sound like legitimate charities (like The US Military Servicemen’s Benevolent Society) but are in fact just marketing companies. They usually have a pitch meant to play on your sense of patriotism, sympathy or guilt to get you to make a donation.
How It Works and Why It’s a Trick – These are usually not charities calling you, but for-profit telemarketing companies that remit a tiny portion (and sometimes nothing at all) of what they collect to a legitimate charity. Furthermore, once you donate to one of these, your name goes on a list that gets sold to other similar companies, ensuring that you’ll be inundated with similar pleas for money.
How To Protect Yourself – Ask the person calling you if they are an actual charity or a marketing company. Ask them what percentage of your donation actually goes to the people they’re purporting to be helping. And finally, do a quick Google search for the name of the organization they claim to be calling on behalf of. If they’re legitimate, you’ll know right away. Same goes for organizations that aren’t. And finally, if you do decide to donate, tell them you want to do it by mail instead of providing your credit card over the phone.