You receive a call stating that you’ve won $450,000 in a charity sweepstakes! What, too good to be true you say? Well, the caller says she is with a government agency in Washington DC, your phone shows they are using a Washington DC number with a 202 area code, and they reference the name of a well-known, trusted charity: Make-A-Wish Foundation. All you need to do is provide banking information (or a wire transfer) to send them a few thousand dollars to cover taxes and insurance. Well, welcome to the latest charity scam courtesy of a crafty con that is spreading across the U.S. as you read this.
The truth is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America (a BBB Accredited Charity) does not engage in any sweepstakes fundraising and the FTC or any other government agency would not be involved in contacting sweepstakes participants to inform them about their winnings and/or asking to collect funds to cover taxes or some other imagined fee. The FTC issued a fraud alert about this scam last week. Make-A-Wish posted their own alert and informs us the callers mix fact with fiction by using their name, may reference their actual Phoenix national office address and will have quick confident answers to almost any question thrown at them.
Here are some charity sweepstakes tips to keep in mind to avoid being taken:
As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Shawn Sweeney, Sr., Communications Director at the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Research, Education and Conservation (a BBB Accredited Charity). The Jane Goodall Institute works to promote understanding and protection of great apes and their habitat on the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall, its founder, and to inspire individual action by young people to help animals and to protect the environment.
Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.
H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance