Posts Tagged ‘scams’

Car Donation Charity Scams and How to Avoid Them

Friday, November 26th, 2010

More and more, we hear bad press about car donation companies that are scamming their customers and shortchanging charities of much-needed money. You don’t want to fall victim to their games, but increasingly, these companies are becoming trickier and harder to escape. You need to be able to recognize the signs when you see them, so keep the following guidelines in mind when you’re considering donating a car to charity.

Sarah Lee Marks, author of “The Complete Internet Car Buying Guide” spoke on avoiding car donation scams, and had some very good advice. For example, when the company comes to retrieve your car, “make sure they come with preprinted forms, uniforms and a branded tow vehicle before you sign over the title.”

Research the company both with a phone call and through an online search. If you are still unsure, you can request certain forms from the charity, including the 501(c)(3) letter that is granted by the IRS as well as the incorporation document given by the secretary of state’s office.

S.E. Day commented “Visit the charity, contact the IRS to inquire about the charity’s viability, request its IRS Form 990 (nonprofit tax return) and make sure the title is signed by the company receiving the vehicle.”

One of the biggest scams to look out for when you donate a car is when the organization asks you to turn over your car without signing over the title.

“The individual will advise the victim that he or she is not authorized to sign the title,” Day says. “He or she will inform the victim that the title has to be signed by the authorized personnel at the office.”

Always make sure the title is transferred correctly and completely, otherwise the organization can use the open title to resell your car for money.

If you still happen to fall victim to a scam, contact the consumer fraud investigation division of your state government or the attorney general.

State Attorney General Cracks Down on Fraudulent Car Donation Charities

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recently announced on Tuesday June 22nd that he has subpoenaed 16 different car donation charities and fundraisers that could be scams. This is all part of an ongoing investigation that Cuomo hopes will halt fraudulent activity that takes advantage of trusting citizens.

One organization, Feed the Hungry (FTH) is charged with raising $430,000 with car donations between 2002 and 2009 but only donating 1.8 percent of that towards its said cause of feeding homeless New Yorkers. The rest of the money, was allegedly spent on personal purchases by the director of the charity, Nicholas Cascone Jr.

When you decide to donate a car, it cannot be expressed enough that you need to carefully consider your options. While you might believe you are making a charitable contribution, you might just be taken for a ride instead.

“We remain concerned that similar practices may prevail in other organizations and will diligently work to root out any other sham charities. As we continue working to clean up this industry, we encourage generous New Yorkers to stay informed and to keep donating to worthy charities,” said Cuomo.

Other charities that are under the microscope include Kars 4 Kids, Bless the Kids and Lechaim for Life. While you can still receive your car donation tax deduction if you were to donate to such charities, you might not be donating to a worthy cause and these companies are still taking advantage of their nonprofit status.

Avoiding Car Donation Scams

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

When you want to donate a car, you have to be careful which business to which you donate. As with any business, there are some scams, and unfortunately, when it comes to charities, some people are all too willing to play on your heartstrings and take your money. We recently came across this video about car donation scams, and we thought it would be good to pass along.

This video describes something that is unfortunately, common practice for some car donation operations. Rest assured, when you donate a car to 1800CarDonations.org, we make sure your money actually gets into the hands of people who need it.