Consumer Alert: Charity fundraising and a new phone scam

In this week's Consumer Alert, a viewer wants to check how much donated money a charity actually spends on charity, and an old IRS phone scam is making its rounds with a new twist.

A News 12 New Jersey viewer says he recently got a call from a charity asking for donations, but he found that the group actually ended up spending less than 10 percent of its raised money on charity.

News 12's Walt Kane had already investigated the Breast Cancer Survivor's Foundation in 2012 and reached a similar conclusion: For every dollar the group raised, just 9 cents went to programs.

The newest data available, from 2014, shows the group raised $3.8 million in donations, according to its tax returns. Out of that, $2.9 million went to pay fundraisers and telemarketers, which actually means more of the money went to charity. The data shows that 24 percent of donations to the group now go to charity.

The practice is not illegal, but people seeking to donate to a charity can check to see which groups give the most money to charity in the end.

Another viewer wrote to News 12 New Jersey saying that she received a scam call.

The scammer told her that she was due to receive $8,000 from the government for paying her taxes on time and having a clean criminal record.

The viewer says her husband, a 911 dispatcher, had already received calls regarding the scam.

It works like this: The scammer will claim they need the victim's bank account information to wire them the money. Then the scammer will clean out the bank account instead.

Like a lot of scams, it comes down to common sense. There's no reward for paying taxes and obeying the law, and people should not give out their bank account information.

If you get that call, just hang up.

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