Abusing Kosair’s name

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Column by Cathy Williamson

By Cathy Williamson

The Better Business Bureau warns local residents to beware of scammers who are using Kosair Charities’ good name.

A local resident received a call from someone claiming to be with the Firefighter’s Union, who said he was selling decals and seals for the Kosair Charities burn unit.

There are several things wrong with this phone call:

  •  First, local firefighters raise money for the Crusade for Children, not for specific entities.
  •  Second, the closest “burn unit” associated with Kosair Charities is at the Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati.
  •  Third, when the woman informed the caller her husband was on the Board of Kosair Charities, he immediately hung up.

BBB sees charity scams like this all of the time. Scam artists like to tug at your heart. BBB has these tips on charity scams:

Don’t be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the names of well-known organizations. Ask telemarketers for specific contact information for the charity, and research the organization to ensure it’s the one whose mission you want to support. Legitimate organizations will welcome your request for clarification and provide as much information as possible to help you with your decision.

Resist demands for on-the-spot donations. This high-pressure tactic is designed to induce you to give without fully researching the organization or asking too many questions. Legitimate organizations will accept donations anytime.

Beware of solicitations from charities that are ill-equipped to carry out their plans. Ask the organization to mail you a copy of its most recent annual report; then check the charity’s accomplishments during the past year. Ask yourself if the charity’s most recent solicitation jives with what it says it accomplished.

Watch out for charities that claim 100 percent of your contribution will benefit programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are a necessary part of operating charities. It is a red flag when charities make the 100 percent claim. BBB recommends charities spend no more than 35 percent of related contributions on fundraising expenses.

Check out charities with BBB. BBB accredits charities according to the highest ethical standards for the industry. BBB Charity reviews can help you decide whether a charity will spend your money wisely.

For more tips, go to www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.

Cathy Williamson is manager of the Lincoln Trail Area branch of the Better Business Bureau. She can be reached at 270-982-1289 or cwilliamson@bbbkyin.org.