Recent Posts

Investigate Before You Donate

December 28, 2017
giving

iStock-856568670.jpgDonating to charity is a great way to get involved with a cause that is close to your heart, but you should always do your homework before giving back. Don't fall victim to a charity scam and make sure your contributions are going where they are supposed to by doing a little research on before donating. Unfortunately, scammers often create fake charities as a way to collect money by exploiting people's desire to help those who need it most. However, you can avoid being scammed by one of these fraudulent charities, as long as you know what to look for.

 

Here are some common tactics used by charity scammers:

Being Secretive: Do not donate to any charity that refuses to give you detailed information about how your donation will be used. Also, ask for information about their mission, costs, and history. A legitimate charity will always be happy to share this information.

Cash-only Donations: A charity that is asking for cash only donations is a huge red flag. It's a sign of criminals who do not want to leave a paper trail. A reputable charity will accept donations in several forms and will provide you with proof of your donation as well.

High-pressure Sales: A legitimate charity will not use high-pressure sale tactics in order to collect donations. If a charity tries to get you to donate money quickly, before you have a chance to do your homework, then there is a good chance it's a scam. Another common method scammers use is to ask contributors to wire money or they will offer to collect the donation by courier. A real charity wants you to feel comfortable in your decision to donate, and will not pressure you into collecting contributions immediately.

Uses a Familiar Name: Charity scams will deviously use names that sound similar to notable and well-known charities. In one case, criminals used the name "Kids Wish Network" to fraudulently collect money by trying to associate themselves with the famous "Make a Wish Foundation". Make sure you are donating to the real-deal by doing some research on the charity you're considering giving to. 

Checking Your Charity

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to verify that the charity you are considering donating to is legitimate and responsible with their contributions.

Step 1: Do a quick google search of the charity in question. Type the charity's name into the search bar, along with words like "scam" and "complaint". You will quickly get an idea of what the charity is all about.

Step 2: Ask for all of the charity's basic information such as their name, address, telephone number, and email address, along with how your donations will be used. Charity scams are usually very reluctant to offer any of the information listed above.

Step 3: Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and ask what the charity's rating is and if they have had any complaints. You can also check with online services such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar. 

Step 4: Visit the website of the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that the organization your are considering donating to is allowed to accept tax-deductible contributions. 

Report Suspicious Organizations


If you have noticed any of the tactics listed above and are concerned about an organization's legitimacy, report any activity to all of the necessary agencies such as your local police, the BBB, and the Federal Trade Commission. 

United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (United Capital) provides financial guidance and makes recommendations based on the specific needs and circumstances of each client. For clients with managed accounts, United Capital has discretionary authority over investment decisions. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. The information contained in this blog is intended for information only, is not a recommendation, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. This blog is a sponsored blog created or supported by United Capital and its employees, organization or group of organizations. This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. Certain authors of our blog posts may be influenced by their background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. It is important to note that the views and opinions expressed on this blog are that of the owner, and not necessarily United Capital Financial Advisers. As a Registered Investment Adviser, United Capital does not allow any testimonials on their blog, and any comments deemed as such United Capital will remove.

United Capital does not offer tax or legal advice; therefore all articles should not be taken as such. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. All referenced entities in this site are separate and unrelated to United Capital. Any references to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by United Capital.

  • Adam Vega
  • 5073439643
    Adam Vega, CFP®, empowers high net-worth individuals by guiding them to making informed and measured financial decisions. He specializes in the financial needs of doctors, successful business owners, and aviation professionals.

    Follow Adam Vega On Social Media

  • Byron Ellis
  • 4089286150
    Byron is the Managing Director of The Woodlands, TX division of United Capital Financial Advisers, and a well-known financial educator. In addition to helping families with their financial life management, Byron is a weekly columnist that has the ability to turn complex topics into clear and interesting essays.

    Follow Byron Ellis On Social Media

  • Cary Carbonaro
  • 4098851980
    Cary is a Managing Director of NY/NJ and Clermont, FL. She is a Nationally Known Personal Finance Expert. She is an Ambassador for the CFP Board. Her bestselling book, “The Money Queens Guide For Woman Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear” was listed in the Top 10 of Books that Make You Rich by Daily. She is a passionate female advocate and teaches yoga in her spare time.

    Follow Cary Carbonaro On Social Media

  • Eric Lewis, CFA, CFP®
  • 5478740077
    Eric Lewis is a Managing Director at the United Capital Silicon Valley office. He revels in complex client portfolios. Eric received a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a CFA Charter holder and a CFP®. When Eric’s not working, traveling, volunteering or hanging out with his family, he likes to hike and cycle the beautiful trails around the Bay.
  • Gail Graham
  • 1728393301
    Gail is the Chief Marketing Officer of United Capital and a champion for changing the way financial services meets the needs of people and their families.

    Follow Gail Graham On Social Media

  • Gene Balas
  • 4224920385
    Gene is a portfolio manager in United Capital's Investment Management Department. Gene began his career in 1989 and is a Chartered Financial Analyst with an MBA from Columbia University. His passion outside of work is weightlifting.

    Follow Gene Balas On Social Media

  • Heather Kelly
  • 4102907483
    Heather is the Vice President of Risk Management and a Chartered Financial Consultant at United Capital. She has been in the insurance industry more than 20 years and is a continual student of the industry. She was the first ever young professional to receive the ATHENA Award, that recognizes women in leadership.
  • Heidi S. Hirsh
  • 4710956733
    Heidi Hirsh is a Wealth Manager with more than 20 years of industry experience in Social Security strategy planning. As a Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP) she currently specializes in creating retirement income plans for individuals and families in both the pre- and post-retirement stages of life.

    Follow Heidi S. Hirsh On Social Media

  • Jarrod Upton
  • 4186235370
    Jarrod is the AVP of Guidance and Financial Planning at United Capital. He is responsible for developing and advancing financial guidance initiative. Jarrod is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER with a Master of Science in Financial Planning and a MBA from Texas Tech University. Follow him on twitter: @jarrodupton

    Follow Jarrod Upton On Social Media

  • Joe Duran
  • 3886045440

    Follow Joe Duran On Social Media

  • Kathleen Grace
  • 4516059074
    Kathleen Grace, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(CFP®) professional, Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), is a Managing Director at United Capital. She advises affluent families, Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and institutions throughout the country on all facets of financial planning, helping them chart a financial course with the goal of lifetime wealth creation. She is also the author of international best-seller, Prince Not So Charming®, a financial planning novel.

    Follow Kathleen Grace On Social Media

  • Konrad Brown
  • 5030478835
    Konrad Brown's professional mission is to help each client spend more time doing what makes their life worth living. As a Wealth Adviser, Konrad works closely with physicians, entrepreneurs, business owners, and families to pair them with financial strategies to achieve the goal of effectively and efficiently preserving their financial security, legacy and lifestyle.The key to providing elite service is fundamentally understanding a client's unique circumstances and tailoring a comprehensive financial plan that may help them maintain their wealth and achieve their financial goals.
  • Min Zhang
  • 5499693455
    Min Zhang, CFA is VP of Digital Product Management at United Capital, where she is responsible for enhancing software products and innovating new solutions for clients and advisors. Min earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics with Honors from Dartmouth College, and holds the CFA charter.

    Follow Min Zhang On Social Media

  • Robert Wolfe
  • 4152274112
    Robert is a Managing Director and NFLPA Registered Player Financial Advisor. He specializes in the design and implementation of wealth management strategies for professional sport executives, athletes, physicians, and entrepreneurs.

    Follow Robert Wolfe On Social Media

  • Stan Corey
  • 4074171202
    Stan Corey is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA). His career in financial services spans over thirty-five years. As a sought-after expert, Stan regularly provides financial commentary at national conferences, in print and online publications, and on TV. He has appeared in USA Today, Working Women magazine, MONEY, Northern Virginia Magazine and Good Housekeeping. Stan has published a novel which is a case study on a divorcing couple. You can go to www.divorcedance.com to get more information.
  • United Capital
  • 1648262852
    Our goal is to improve lives. We help people make sound financial decisions aligned with their goals. If you’d like to stay in touch with us feel free to follow us on social media.

    Follow United Capital On Social Media

Byron Ellis

Written by Byron Ellis

Byron is the Managing Director of The Woodlands, TX division of United Capital Financial Advisers, and a well-known financial educator. In addition to helping families with their financial life management, Byron is a weekly columnist that has the ability to turn complex topics into clear and interesting essays.

Follow Byron Ellis On Social Media

planning families
planning FinLife
planning families