A judge in Polk County has banned a Florida-based charity from fundraising in Iowa for 10 years. The director of the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Bill Brauch, says they found that the “Defeat Diabetes Foundation” was using illegal tactics to raise funds over the phone.
Brauch says the company lied and said the contributions were being used in Iowa, when none of them were being used in Iowa. They also said the caller was a volunteer, and made false statements that 80% of the funds were going to the charitable purpose when it was only 20%. Brauch says the charity had hired a professional fundraiser to make its calls, and knew the fundraiser was breaking the rules.
Brauch says they often see charitable solicitations that tug at people’s heartstrings and use diseases that people want to try and help cure, and that’s what was happening here. Brauch says many legitimate charities depend on fundraising to do the work they do, but you should check out the organizations you are donating to.
You can find out if a charity is non on the up-and-up by calling the consumer protection division and checking to see if there are any complaints against it. Brauch says there’s another good resource to check with before you donate.
He says the Better Business Bureaus on-line service “give.org” that rates charities and will tell you if the organization provided information and will tell you how much of the money raised goes to charity. You can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at: 515-281-5926, or 888-777-4590 toll free. Their web site is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.