The Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit against four cancer charities and their operators for conning donors more than $187 million.
The charities include Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society.
The money in question was raised between the years 2008 to 2012. The charities claimed this money would help pay for pain medication, hospice care and other services, but instead spent donations on personal things such as cars, trips, sports tickets, and professional fundraisers.
50 states and the District of Columbia signed the complaint to charge the four charities according to the Federal Trade Commission and complaint.
Daniel Borochoff is president of a group called Charity Watch. Charity Watch investigates and grades charities on their legitimacy.
“It’s great that the FTC and State took this action, but there are a lot of other really bad charities out there,” said Borochoff.
Borochoff says charities can be deceiving.
He said, “We need better accountability. A lot of charities can make themselves look really good on their websites or in their financial reports when they’re not doing much in the way that’s charitable”
He says studies show less than a third of Americans ask where the money is going when donating to a charity.
In an email, Florida Attorney General Spokesman Whitney Ray says there are ways to avoid getting scammed.
For one, never give your credit card number or banking information over the phone. Avoid solicitors that use high-pressure tactics. And last, confirm that the charity is valid through websites such as Charity Watch.
Ray said, “We cannot let these bad actors ruin people’s faith in the good work legitimate charities are doing to help fund cancer research and comfort those who are suffering.”