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The pleas pulled at heartstrings — donate now to help women struggling with breast cancer pay their rent or their utilities — and generous people responded. In truth, barely a penny of every dollar donated went to cancer patients. Today the FTC and ten state partners sued the so-called “charity” that lied to donors about helping cancer patients.

The FTC says Cancer Recovery Foundation, Inc. (CRFI) was a sham charity that lied to donors about how their donations would be spent. Instead of helping cancer patients, the vast majority of every donation went to fundraisers and Greg Anderson, CRFI’s executive director – cancer patients got only about 1% of the $18.25 million donated to the charity.

The next time you get an unexpected call or letter to donate to a charity, consider these steps to donate safely:

  • Take your time: Hang up and check out the charity with rating organizations. Some scammers use names that only look and sound like real charities.
  • Find out how much of your donation goes to the program you want to support. If donating locally is important to you, ask how your donation will impact your area.
  • Don’t donate to anyone who insists you pay by cash, gift card, wiring money, or cryptocurrency. That’s how scammers tell you to pay. If you decide to donate, pay by credit card, which gives you more protections.

Share this infographic to help others spot and avoid charity scams. Go to for more.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

J dejonge
March 12, 2024

I worked for a company years ago to get people to donate for womans cancer care. I was paid a hourly wage plus commission. I had worked for three days. I had problems with transportation. I was due 275.00 for 4 days. The company never reimbursed me for wages. Not one penny. This was in 2011 in Foley Al. I am trying to remember the name of the company. It started with the word Womans. Our " script" was something like this. Telling people that their donation would provide beauty services. Haircuts, clothes self care. I complained to Alabama labor department. I made a report with the ftc in Alabama. Both agencies failed at getting a resolution to unpaid wages.

Christina Richards
March 12, 2024

As a banker who sees a very lot of fraud, I really wish you would develop an infographic with 3-5 bullets to share on social media for each of these scammer warnings, that includes a link to the original article, such as this one. I would love to see the information shared, and I share these articles, but they do not get the attention needed in just the article format.

Brenda Wilder
March 12, 2024

Thank you very much for letting people know about these scams.

Kathryn Henry
March 12, 2024

I often get calls for donations for women's breast cancer causes saying it's to "help women who can't afford mammograms" and I reply that only pay for MY OWN mammogram. There is only one cancer research fund I donate to and only because I checked it out with Charity Navigator and Charity Watch Dog. One said "If YOU ever had breast cancer you'd understand the need!" I said "I DID have breast cancer surgery eight years ago - and I still only support ONE Breast Cancer site, and yours isn't it" and I hung up.

March 15, 2024

What about charities raising money on Facebook when someone has a birthday?
Is it a legitimate charity?