It seems innocent enough. You’re out running errands or going to/from the office downtown. Someone tries to capture your attention by holding out a box of candy – usually some kind of hard candy. “Excuse me. I’m selling XYZ candy to raise money for ABC Organization.” Naturally, you are in a rush. BBB says if you are, you’re probably in luck. As the weather begins to warm up, look out for unscrupulous individuals lurking in mall parking lots, grocery stores and other busy public areas trying to catch you at the most inconvenient moment.
Keep in mind, this isn’t the typical community, church or school fundraiser using cookie dough, full size candy bars or other items to support sport teams or school activities. These parking lot salesmen and women are trained to raise money for soundalike charities. Unfortunately, in BBB’s experience, the money too often doesn’t make it to the charity you think. BBB warns you to be on the look out for this ploy this Spring and Summer.
Here’s what you need to know when approached by an outdoor candy salesperson:
Don’t fall for the high pressure sales tactics.
Listen carefully to the name of the charity. Often it is a ‘soundalike’ charity of a real group or organization and not the real deal.
If you really want to help an organization, give directly to them by making a donation through other means such as their secure website, a check or sponsored event.
It is ok to say “no thank you.” Especially when approached by one of these individuals. Remember the name of the organization, if you can, and do some research at your leisure so you can then decide whether or not you want to make a donation.
Start with a charity you can trust. Visit bbb.org and look up their Charity Review before giving.