Washington, DC - The Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of State Charities Officials, and state charities regulators across the country are joining with partners around the globe for this year’s International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW), taking place October 21-25, 2019.
ICFAW is a coordinated international campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving. This is the second year of participation from U.S. agencies, and consumers can follow the week’s events at #CharityFraudOut.
In addition to the U.S. participants in ICFAW, the Charities Commission for England & Wales, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, New Zealand Charities Service, and Office of the Scottish Regulator are also joining the international outreach effort. Key non-governmental participants include Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the UK’s Fraud Advisory Panel, and international charities Oxfam, British Council, and Amnesty International.
“Generosity is part of the American spirit, and millions of consumers show that generosity every year through charitable giving,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “Unfortunately, bad actors take advantage of that generosity, which is why it’s important to raise awareness about charity fraud. We empower consumers with tools that help ensure their money ends up where intended. We’re proud to join with our partners in the U.S. and around the world in this effort.”
The FTC has created a video called “Make Your Donations Count” that highlights the importance of researching charities to avoid donating to a scam, provides tips people can follow to verify the charity before they donate, and directs people to visit FTC.gov/Charity for more information.
ICFAW Social Media Campaign
Charity Fraud Awareness Week features a social media campaign that promotes wise giving tips for consumers. This year the campaign also features cybersecurity and data security tips for nonprofits. Follow the FTC’s official Twitter account for daily tips and tune into the weeklong discussion at #CharityFraudOut. Follow the FTC’s official Facebook account for daily tips and links to resources as well.
Advice for Consumers
Many reputable charities are deserving of support. The FTC has tips at https://ftc.gov/charity to help individuals and businesses find those charities and give wisely.
- Look up a charity’s report & ratings. Check them out on sites like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar.
- Watch out for names that only look like well-known charities. Just because a group has a sympathetic sounding name, or sounds like a well-known organization, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Some of the worst offenders have been known to mimic the names of reputable nonprofits.
- Search the charity name online. Are people reporting that it’s a scam?
- Ask how much of your donation really goes to the programs you want to support.
Advice for Businesses
Apart from personal donations, businesses may be approached for charitable contributions, too. Firms also want their donations to go to reputable non-profits, and they want to avoid inadvertently associating the company with a questionable fundraising campaign. The FTC also has specific advice for businesses in Tips for Retailers: How to Review Charity Requests.
Advice for Non-Profit Organizations
This year, ICFAW is also emphasizing the importance of non-profit and charitable organizations adopting good cybersecurity and data security practices to protect donor and client information.
The FTC has created a guide for small businesses and non-profits about the basics of cybersecurity as well as a blog post with more information specifically for non-profits.