Research a charity before giving to avoid scams

Posted at 7:07 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 22:07:48-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego woman is warning people about someone calling on behalf of a cancer charity, soliciting donations over the phone.

She says the caller didn’t want to take no for an answer.

"There are a lot of very similar sounding charity names, and that's one of the things that I think was confusing,” said Dionne Carlson.

On Monday afternoon, Carlson says she got a phone call from someone asking for money.

"It was a very plausible, well spoken, very charming young woman who said her name,” she said. “(The caller) said the name of the charity very quickly so I had to ask the name of the charity a few times.”

Carlson says the caller pressured to donate now.

"She wanted me to give her $25 right away,” Carlson said. “She wanted me to give her my credit card over the phone which of course I would never do because that is the most insecure thing i could ever do.”

Sitting with her iPad by her side Carlson says she tried to background check the charity but nothing came up. Carlson says she tried charity-searching sites, still nothing.

Team 10 checked for the name Carlson provided. Initially, we couldn’t find anything either. There’s no website directly linking back to the charity name the caller gave.

There's no website - directly linking back to the charity name the caller gave Dionne.

We're not naming the charity because what we eventually found brings up conflicting information, mixed reviews, and more questions.

Questions Team 10 is still trying to get answered.

Advocates say if you have questions about a charity make sure to get answers before donating.

"Most legitimate organizations will happily give you their website and time to look them up and to research them and make sure they're legitimate,” Carlson said.

The Better Business Bureau suggests:

  • Don't give in to aggressive sales tactics. Ask for the name and contact information and inform them that you will look them up first.
  • Ask how your donation will be used before giving.
  • Never wire money to them or give cash.
  • Visit the Wise Giving Alliance website at and the Federal Trade Commission website at
  • Watch out for name similarities. A lot of scam charities will use a name resembling that of a well-known one in an attempt to get donations with no questions asked.

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