Jan. 28, 2010

Disasters, like the earthquakes in Haiti, can bring out the best in people. But scammers often will try to take advantage of a disaster by tricking people into sending them money.


Scammers who use the U.S. Mail to misrepresent charities can be prosecuted. The penalty is a fine or up to five years’ imprisonment, or both. If a financial institution is affected, the penalty can include a fine of $1 million, imprisonment for up to 30 years, or both.


How can you tell which solicitations are legitimate and which are not? The U.S. Postal Inspection Service offers the following guidelines when donating to charities:


If you’re unfamiliar with the charity or if there is anything in the solicitation that makes you suspicious, ask for its annual report and financial statement.

Make checks payable to the organization only — never to an individual.

Be suspicious of solicitors who say they will accept your donation in cash only. Con artists want cash so there will be no paper trail for authorities to follow.

Report any suspicious organizations to your local Postmaster or Postal Inspector.

If you’re unfamiliar with an organization, or if the name is close but not the same as a well-known charity, you can check it out by visiting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website. Or write the Alliance at:


BBB Wise Giving Alliance

4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800

Arlington, VA 22203


Report any suspicious mail concerning relief charities for Haiti by calling the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 and selecting option 5.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Homestead teacher is stepping down under deal Updated:  11/27

» River Lane Inn in Brown Deer sold to Pastiche owner Updated:  11/25

» Whitefish Bay Holiday Stroll coming on Friday 11/25

» Bomb squad examines grenade found in Brown Deer house 11/25

» Inspired by Popp, Homestead seizes fifth state football title 11/25

» Sport Shorts: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Shorewood robbery suspects face charges 11/25

» River Lane Inn will become Pastiche 11/25

» Woodland champion Shorewood girls basketball team looks for third title 11/25

» Homestead girls basketball team has high expectations 11/25

» Highlanders rejoice over state football title 11/25

» Shorewood School District raises $1 million for STEAM programs 11/24

» Crews battle house fire in Brown Deer; 2 cats killed Updated:  11/23

» Cats, guinea pig die in fire 11/23

» Mequon woman reported missing 11/23

» Homestead wins fifth state football title, 28-12, over Waukesha West 11/20

» Build-your-own pizza place coming to Shorewood next year 11/20

» Shorewood families want to host Syrian refugees 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Homestead football team faces uphill title fight against West 11/18

» Wolf and Zortman fill in each other's gaps well 11/18

» Apartments, assisted living pitched in Mequon development 11/18

» Mequon-Thiensville's Demond Means says MPS role won't interfere with his day job 11/18

» Hayes helps Brown Deer/USM swimming team set two program records 11/18

» Oak Leaf Trail extension links Milwaukee to Ozaukee County Updated:  11/18

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss




Local Business Directory