Consumer Alert: Is the charity you’re donating to legitimate or not?

The recent national news involving four cancer charities accused in a $187 million fraud case has some wondering which charities are for real and which ones are fake.

Greg Dunn of the Better Business Bureau Hawaii said it’s been inundated with inquiries over the past week from people concerned about donating to charity.

“They want to make sure that the money is going to help either the kids, the family, the patients, or the research to try and help cure cancer,” he said.

So how do you know who’s legit and who isn’t?

The BBB says, first, do your research. What do you know about the charity and is it accredited? If you’re not sure, you can check the Better Business Bureau website for a list of accredited ones.

If you do decide to give, never wire money, or pay with a pre-paid money card.

Beware of charities that pop up shortly after catastrophic events since con artists have used disasters as a way to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

And consider making a non-monetary donation.

“If you want to give,” Dunn said, “we know that 93 percent of Hawaii households in 2014 gave to charity. Folks in the community are very generous. (People) shouldn’t feel apprehensive about continuing to donate.”

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or send us an email to

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