Avoiding "pink ribbon" scams

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Breast-cancer awareness educates and unites during the month of October. However, it's also a time when scammers prey on your emotions and your generosity.

Felicia Thompson, who is with the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix, says with all the fundraisers going on to support breast cancer awareness, people are being extra generous with their wallets.

"Everything has a pink ribbon on it these days," Thompson said.

However, Thompson said before donating, consumers need to make sure it's not just a pink-ribbon marketing ploy.

"Make sure that charity is legit and the money will actually go to a victim or survivor of the cause," she told 3 On Your Side.

To keep from getting ripped off, be sure to identify the charity asking for the donation. If the product or service is linked to a pink-ribbon initiative, find out exactly where the money is going and what percentage is being donated. Also, research the charity through the BBB. They have a section on their website on charity reports.

"The great thing is we all have smart phones, so we can all look it up when we're in the store," Thompson said.

Also, make sure to confirm the charity's corporate partners. Most national breast-cancer charities list their partners and sponsors on their websites. If you do contribute make sure you don't give cash because it's too easy for your donation to disappear. Finally, ask questions and be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer questions.

"There are just so many businesses taking advantage of the opportunity to support the cause, which is great. But, the bottom line is you want to make sure that the dollar that you give is going to go to the charity that they marketed," Thompson says.