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Check out ?charities? before you give

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By Capt. Jim Burton

I am often asked about telephone solicitations from various “charities.” Some charities claim to support various groups such as “fallen police widows” or “firefighter’s widows.”

People want to help but how can you be sure the charity is legitimate? I found some tips from the National Consumers League that might help.

If you are approached by an unfamiliar charity check it out. Most states require charities to register with the Better Business Bureau and require reports on their fundraising efforts and how that money is used.

Don’t be pressured over the phone to donate ask for literature to be sent to you to review to decide if you want to donate. Beware of sound-alike charities. Some crooks try to fool people by using names similar to legitimate well known charities.

Ask the caller about his or her relationship with the charity; are they professional fundraiser or an employee or volunteer for the charity? Ask how much of the funds raised go to the charity or to the fundraisers.

Be especially cautious about charities who offer to help the victims of recent disasters. Criminals rely on your desire to help people in need.

If we can assist you in determining the legitimacy of a charity come by The Sheriff’s Southwest District office at 9048 S.W. Hwy. 200 and we will be happy to help.

Capt. Jim Burton is the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Southwest District Commander. For information, call 402-6060.