Non-profit organizations collecting donations are taken out from the law protecting against unsolicited calls, they are free to call how they need which causes that the non-profit organizations are often exploited for fraudulent activities. Almost every company can establish a legitimate non-profit organization. If you send some donation to such a non-profit, your phone number becomes public.
As on-profit organizations are not primarily motivated by profit and their accounting is special, United States non-profit laws focus on taxes and prevention of charitable fraud. But individuals with criminal intent already found some loopholes in the law.
In this post we will show, how can be the solidarity, on which is a non-profit organization based, misused for illegal activity.
Difficulty to Verify Non-profit Registration Number over Phone
In the United States, state governments are mostly responsible for preventing charitable fraud. But their laws are not the same; they vary widely from state to state. About 45 states regulate charities by law and require them to be registered before soliciting donations. To validate the non-profit organization, you can ask to get its registration number.
Almost every non-profit organization has its registration number displayed on websites. But the most questionable is how to prove over the phone that the call really comes from a non-profit organization, and that the donated money will get to the right hands.
People should be directed to a local branch, where they could check the non-profit organization. But local branches are not everywhere. Also call centers must be capable to give evidence of calling on behalf of some certain non-profit organization.
Collecting Donations Creates a Very Good Background for Fraudulent Activity
There are many telemarketing or subsidy calls asking for a small or large one-time donation or asking for sending smaller amount of money regularly. A smaller amount of money sent for a particular project, such as help for people affected by natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, is the most common.
But exactly the small, on-time amount of donated money prompts individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization or a good cause. Small contributions in a large volume concentrate larger amount of money that can help support charitable activities or attract scammers.
People who were robbed of their donations will most probably not suite for a small amount of money, as it does not pay. Moreover, they will not think about the theft as if they were robbed, because they did not expect to get anything for their money anyway.
Call Centers Exploit Databases of Non-profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations, same as commercial or state organizations, can order call center services. In order to increase the amount of finances available for their projects, they need a database of people to contact.
Call centers are very prone to exploit the databases of their clients. In order to fulfill the quotes, they can call more often, than the non-profit organization would do so itself. As a result, the called party may receive more unsolicited phone calls a day, asking to support some fond by a donation.
A call center that joins more non-profit organizations may also spam people with more unsolicited calls, when a customer enables one fund, but the call center calls from all. Call centers should not offer contributing to other funds, than the one, in whose database was a contact on the called party.
Call centers calling on behalf of non-profit organizations can dial a contact from “Do not call” registry, but the caller should keep the topic of his call from the beginning to its end. Call centers often changes the theme of the call from non-profit to commercial.
Contact Details about Sponsors are Public
Obligations of every non-profit organization include to transparently displaying who sponsors its activities. This practically means that if you send some donation to a non-profit organization, your phone number becomes public.
Sponsor’s phone numbers are also kept in databases, which are quite often very unsafe. Because non-profit organizations priorities differ from the commercial ones, the donated money are not spent on information security.
As a result,
despite the noble interests of non-profit organizations,
people lose confidence to donate,
because they do not want to give their money into wrong hands.
Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to guidelines including the following:
- Do not respond to unsolicited phone calls.
- Be skeptical of callers representing themselves as officials soliciting donations.
- Disobey robocalls which advise you to press buttons on the phone keypad.
- Rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf, make contributions directly to known organizations.
- Try to verify the actual existence and legitimacy of the non-profit organization through various resources.
- Providing personal or financial information to individuals who solicits contributions may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
SHOULDIANSWER reveals phone calls from false non-profit organizations already before you answer them. People who have posted their contribution to a fraudster instead of a non-profit organization usually do not want others to repeat the same mistake and therefore shares their experience on Internet. Before picking up a call from any unknown number, SHOULDIANSWER displays you its user ratings. SHOULDIANSWER can be downloaded for free at Google Play.
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To recognize which calls are fraudulent, you need to be very attentive to details. You can try this game to check, if you should not rather download SHOULDIANSWER to get rid of unsolicited calls once forever.