frauds have always been a problem. But in the last
decade or so, a new type of fraud has come up that has started to
devastate legitimate charities.
is widespread and preys on seniors in individually small, but
cumulatively, very large ways.
While legitimate charities learn how to get by on
relatively small change and scrimp and cut back, fraudulent
charities are making bucket loads of money for their operators.
fake charities went global after the 9/11 terrorist attacks
because people were in a giving frame of mind.
It was the big chance to get a lot and get it quickly.
There was suddenly a big rush of obscure charity drives
hitting neighborhood after neighborhood, standing on street
corners with their buckets, and even stopping traffic to donate a
buck or two. Nice,
well-dressed individuals wearing long skirts, or white shirts and
ties, and being ever so polite were suddenly swooping in for the
(or women) create fictitious charities, often throwing words like
“Christian”, “children”, “orphan”, “hunger”,
“homeless”, or pitiful words into the name of the
organization, popped up all over the place looking for a few bucks
a piece on average.
Since they were
only looking for a few dollars, they seldom received checks, just
pocket or purse money. If
they received a check, no problem.
Maybe they cashed it, maybe they didn’t. It was a small piece anyway.
Seniors are a
prime target for charity fraud.
Most seniors have learned sympathy for others, have little
experience with fraud, and often have a little cash laying around
the house. Seniors
are less likely to be suspicious or stingy and on average think
more about ‘reaping what they sow’.
In general, they’re nicer and more giving.
take advantage of this, showing up at the door and asking the
senior to donate money to hungry children or whatever the cause of
the day may be. Even
at an average of a few dollars per person, the conman easily takes
in hundreds of tax-free dollars per hour.
If he sets up a few workers and pays them off, he can make
much more than that.
being illegal, charity fraud occasionally makes headlines and makes
people less confident about giving their money away to legitimate
lose the money that is given to the conmen plus suffer the
consequences of lost confidence in charities in general.
Though these conmen can and do go to jail, the jail
sentences are relatively insignificant compared to the potential
gain and the risk of getting caught.
What we need is
new laws with long mandatory jail sentences.
Many think that these sentences should be carried out at
hard labor and we agree. Conmen
running charity frauds need to know that society considers their
crime despicable because it preys on and exclusively effects the
people that need legitimate charity the most.