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Donation

It’s Easy to Avoid Scam Charities

Scam charities aren’t a new thing. Fortunately, they aren’t that common. With that being said, education is still the number one way to protect against fraud. Scam charities often crop up after a major tragedy takes place, such as a mass shooting, earthquake, or hurricane. During these times, philanthropic people should conduct plenty of research to ensure that the charity they’re thinking about donating to is a legitimate organization.

However, you should always research any charity you’re thinking about supporting, even if it is a reputable group that has been around forever. You really want to make sure that your hard-earned money will go towards a mission that you support. Additionally, researching an organization can also help you identify some major red flags.

Popular “missions” for scam charities involve supporting veterans and police officers. In Kentucky, for example, police have warned people to be careful of any unsolicited calls from a charity that purports to help officers and their families. The caller seeks immediate donations through wire transfer or prepaid cards, which are difficult to trace. You should avoid these types of solicitations at all costs.

In fact, any time you receive unsolicited contact from a charity, you should be wary. While it’s possible that they’re just using aggressive tactics, there’s also a strong possibility that they’re a fraud. Get the name of the organization, and then see if they have a website where you can donate. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not having a website, so that’s a good starting point. See what you can find out about them with a simple Web search. If they don’t have a Web presence, chances are that they’re not a real charity.

If you ever do get the impression that you’ve been approached by a scam charity, you should report them to the Federal Trade Commission immediately. The Federal Trade Commission will investigate and determine whether the charity in question is real or not.

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News

Eva Longoria Tied to Charity Used to Pocket Millions

Eva Longoria
Despite her philanthropic work, Eva Longoria might be contributing to the negative side of Hollywood charity. Image via Instagram.

 

Eva Longoria has long used her celebrity status to support important causes. The Eva Longoria foundation supports women and children in the United States Latino community, and her namesake foundation is just one of the many she donates vital funds to charities annually. It’s her dedication to philanthropy that makes a recent charity scandal involving her friends all the more surprising.

Two close friends and philanthropic associates of actress Eva Longoria have used non-profit organizations to generate millions of dollars in business for for-profit entities that they also own. Longoria is very active in the political world as both a big donor for the Democratic Party and a part of the party’s outreach to Latino voters.

The Hollywood Reporter found that two close friends of Longoria, Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta had intertwined the operations of the Global Gift Foundation with their own event planning and advertising companies in ways that don’t pass the test for accountability. Experts around the world on non-profits say that the philanthropically active celebrities like Longoria need to have the responsibility to do research on the groups they give their name to.

Bravo and Peralta were very public saying that nearly all the money they raise goes to a good cause but, they are very silent on how their event-production company, MandA and their advertising company actually make profit.

“It’s all about transparency,” says Phil Buchanan, president of the Cambridge, Mass., based Center for Effective Philanthropy. “It’s hard to imagine how, if these people are in these leadership roles, they are contracting with a company they run—that is the very definition of a conflict of interest.”

The well-liked Longoria has her own production company and when she is not busy tending to her brand, she can be found either cozying up to her handsome boyfriend Jose Antonio Baston, 45-year-old president of Televisa (Latin America’s largest media company) or with her philanthropy guru Trevor Neilson.

Read an in-depth report of how celebrities and “philanthropeneurs” are creating a negative image for Hollywood charity in The Hollywood Reporter’s investigation.

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News

Charity Fraudster Adam Shryock Faces Extended Sentence

breast cancer ribbon
Adam Shryock’s fake charity tricked thousands of people across the country into thinking they were donating vital funds to breast cancer-related charities. IMG: via Shutterstock

The founder of a fake charity fundraiser Boobies Rock! is now serving six more months in jail. Adam Shryock was taken to jail after the Denver judge found overwhelming evidence that he had violated his 2013 order. Back in 2013, it was discovered that Shryock’s fake charity misled thousands of people across the country by making them believe that they were donating vital funds to breast cancer-related charities.

“Adam Shryock is now a repeat charity-fraud offender, which is why it is fitting that he received the maximum penalty for thumbing his nose at the court and continuing to commit charitable fraud,” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said, of the most recent allegations against him. “Mr. Shryock victimized both the young women who believed they were raising money for charity and the charities themselves by using their names without permission.”

The first time around Shryock was ordered to stop his practices in 2013 after the Attorney General’s office had filed a lawsuit against him alleging he was committing charitable fraud. That order was now violated twice and then on Wednesday there was enough evidence to show that Shryock was the driving force behind a fundraising event that took place in fall of 2014.

In July 2013 a temporary restraining order against Shryock, Boobies Rock!  Inc., The Se7ven Group, and Say No 2 Cancer for deceiving consumers into thinking they were donating money to charity. In the latest claim, Shryock claimed to only be the wholesaler and consultant to the woman running the tour, but the judge found he was heavily involved in the tour’s day-to-day operations.

It’s deeply upsetting and almost unbelievable that a person could commit fraud for their own benefit in the name of charity. Remember to always take the extra steps of doing thorough research on any organization, or person claiming to collect for the organization before donating so that your money is finding it’s way into the right pockets.