BBB Scams of Month

Public Calls for More Clarity in Charity Disaster Appeals Says New Survey from BBB’s Give.org

Only 24% of individuals say charity disaster relief appeals are “very clear,” according to new research from BBB’s Give.org. The standards-based, charity-evaluation group released a special Give.org Donor Trust Report: Disaster Relief Donor Expectations. The report, a survey of 2,100 adults in the United States and 68 national and local disaster relief charities, explores donor expectations related to disaster relief giving. 

This report also highlights the role news media plays igniting public concern and action, making the medium an important agent in promoting effective and trustworthy support.

Report highlights include:

When asked “Thinking about disaster-related appeals you have seen, do you believe that most of the appeals clearly explain what disaster response activities the charity will carry out?” 

  • individuals indicated: Very clear 24%, Somewhat clear 41%, Not clear 20%, Note sure 15%

The most significant influence on disaster relief givers is news media, with 43.2% of donors, and 56.6% of charities, reporting news media is the strongest influence on disaster giving decisions.

When compared to older generations, younger donors were more likely to respond to celebrity (i.e., movie, tv star, famous athlete, etc.) fundraisers for disaster relief. 

The most frequent reason cited for having donated to a celebrity’s disaster relief fundraiser were: being a fan of the celebrity (46.2% of men and 30.3% of women) and trust in the celebrity’s ability to choose (29.0% of men and 25.4% of women). Also, most people (83%) who donated to a celebrity’s disaster relief fundraiser said they would have otherwise donated to other relief efforts.

Only 14.8% of charities addressing disaster relief said crowdfunding sites help increase the total amount of funds donated to charities.

For a free copy of the report, go tohttps://Give.org/DonorTrust.

Local Agencies Warn Public of Alleged DNA Testing Scam

BBB Cincinnati, Cincinnati Police Department, and ProSeniors are warning residents in the Greater Cincinnati area about an alleged door-to-door DNA screening scam.

Cincinnati Police received reports of an individual representing a medical testing company canvassing Cincinnati neighborhoods, particularly homes of the elderly, offering to take a DNA sample on how the person’s body metabolizes certain medicines and if they’re prone to certain ailments. The solicitor explains Medicare or Medicaid insurance will cover the test, takes a swab sample from the cheek of the resident and then records their personal information from their insurance card. 

ProSeniors is receiving a high volume of calls from people sharing similar stories and are expressing their concern that their insurance coverage and identity have been compromised. Cincinnati Police Department, ProSeniors and BBB recommend using caution when approached unsolicited, by someone requesting personal information, Medicare or Medicare information and implies that a DNA test will be covered.

Additional Tips:

  • Research any business and it’s owners carefully. 
  • Never share personal information with a stranger you’ve never met.
  • Verify credentials before providing any information - especially personal data.

Report these incidents to the following numbers and websites:

Cincinnati Police Department: (513) 352-3542

ProSeniors: (800) 488-6070 or Medicare: 1-800-MEDICARE

BBB: scamtracker.org or (513) 421-3015

July is Military Consumer Month

July is Military Consumer Month and a good time to focus on scams affecting military consumers. Last year, imposter scams once again topped the list of frauds that military consumers reported to the FTC. More than 36,000 servicemembers, veterans, or family members reported an imposter scam. Although only 11% of them reported losing money, their total losses to this type of scam were $34 million, with a median loss of $900.

Imposter scams can take many forms. Some imposters say they’re calling from the government or from a business with technical support expertise. Others pose as legitimate users of online dating sites or claim that they are a friend or family member with an emergency. But they all involve a con artist who pretends to be someone you trust, to convince you to send money or personal information.

Charitable Donation Imposters 

Scam: Con artists lie and claim to be veterans or service members collecting charitable donations to support other veterans and veteran causes.

Tip: Verify charities before making donations and never send cash, wire money, pay in gift cards or use other untraceable methods of payment. Donors who are not familiar with a charitable organization can verify official organizations on CharityNavigator.org.

U.S. Soldier Impersonation

Scam: When a scammer pretends to be a U.S. soldier and claims they need financial help or are looking to sell goods or services for a cheap price. The con artist may even go as far as opening up fake social media accounts and using stolen names and photos of real U.S. soldiers.  

Tip: Soldiers should search social media sites to see if scammers are using their information. Soldiers should also conduct a Google image search of their social media profile pictures and, if necessary, follow online U.S. Army tips on how to report and stop fake profiles.                                   

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Imposters 

Scam: A call, email or social media communication from someone claiming to be an employee of the VA. The scammer may pretend they need to update military records or offer special programs, services or discounts.

Tip: If you did not initiate contact with the VA and suddenly receive a call, email or text from someone saying they are a VA employee, it is most likely a scam. Independently verify and contact the actual VA and never provide personal, medical or financial information to an untrusted caller.

Remember, veterans can now also take advantage of the FTC’s new Free Electronic Credit Monitoring for Active Duty Military Rule, which implements a 2018 law that requires the nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide free electronic credit monitoring services for active duty military consumers.

Find out more information on ftc.gov

Sales Tax Holiday is Coming Up

The Ohio sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 2 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2019. 

The intention of the sales tax holiday is to boost sales while also giving taxpayers a break on back to school items such as pens, notebooks, jeans and shoes. 

The exemption applies only to items selling for $75 or less. Therefore if an item of clothing sells for more than $75, tax is due on the entire selling price. “clothing” is defined as all human wearing apparel suitable for general use and covers more than you might expect. Traditional items such as shirts, pants, skirts, sweaters, dresses and shoes are included, but so are disposable diapers, formal wear and wedding apparel. 

 “School supplies” are very specifically defined and include items like binders, book bags, calculators, and composition and notebooks.

A full list of clothing items, school supplies that qualify as well as frequently asked questions can be found on  www.tax.ohio.gov

If you don’t live in Ohio, there are 17 states that have Tax Free Holidays. (Indiana and Kentucky aren’t one of them) The list can be found on thebalance.com

Business, Charities - There is Still Time to Get YOUR Torch App In!

We believe in celebrating the best in our community’s businesses and nonprofits. It just makes our area a great place to live, work and play as well as one where we can place trust in one another. The Torch Award application asks leaders to consider ethical crises and choices that have played important parts in their organization’s story. Those qualities are then measured before a third-party of judges. 

This is a pinnacle moment for an exemplary business or nonprofit, an occasion to rise above and celebrate their ethics in the marketplace. Torch Award winners are driven by a passion for their work, their employees, their customers, community and principals. Find out if your organization has what it takes. Apply today. Deadline is July 31 on torchapp.org.

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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