BBB warns of door-to-door charity solicitation scams

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (Acadiana Better Business Bureau)- BBB received a tip from a consumer that a person is going door-to-door soliciting for a local charity.  The consumer stated that the young man said that he was with another organization called Literacy Outreach Program.  The consumer did purchase an item from the young man and the receipt claims the approved recipient was the local Boys and Girls Club.

BBB contacted the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana and according to a representative with the charity, they state have no affiliation with the representative’s organization nor do they know of any donations that they would be receiving from the organization.   If you are interested in donating to the Boys and Girls Club, please contact them at 337-268-9555 or go to their website at www.bgcacadiana.com.

According to the Literacy Outreach Program’s website, they are listed as a for-profit organization helping raise literacy rates.  They also state that they are in no way affiliated with any local or national charity, hospital, or other agency.  

The website gives you options to purchase products that you may gift to any approved organization.  However, gifts may only be sent to areas that are willing to accept your gifts to promote literacy rates.

BBB attempted to try to reach out to the Literacy Outreach Program to confirm the person going door-to-door is representative and to get more information, including their location.  They have not responded to our call.

BBB gives these tips on door-to-door charity solicitations:

·         Ask about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license. Ask if the salesperson has checked in with the city and gotten proper licensing. If you are not sure if your city requires a permit, call your city offices.

·         Check identification. A reputable seller will give you all the information you ask for, including a photo ID and a business card.

·         Verify the individual and the company/charity. Tell the salesperson you want to call the company directly. A legitimate salesperson should not have a problem with this. Research the company and contact them to check if the salesperson is an employee. Read the company’s Business Profile and customer reviews at bbb.org.

·         Watch out for charity name confusion. Be alert to questionable groups seeking to confuse donors with names that sound similar to charities you know.

·         Resist pressure to give on the spot. Don’t give in to excessive pressure on the phone to make an immediate donation or purchase.

·         Find out more. The charity/organization’s website provides access to information on its programs, board roster and finances. You can also verify government registration. About 40 of the 50 states in the U.S. require charities to register with the attorney general’s office or secretary of their state.

·         Do an online search to reveal potential scams. Search the person or charity/organization in question along with the words “complaint” and “scam.” What you find could reveal a dishonest scheme. BBB Scam Tracker can help you learn from others’ experiences (BBB.org/ScamTracker).

·         Check for BBB Accreditation. Visit bbb.org to check out businesses before doing business or give.org to obtain charity reviews.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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