BBB: Beware of fake cancer charity

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The American Cancer Society in Wichita is reporting a scam from a phony charity called the “American Cancer Association.”

Cancer patients and their loved ones have been receiving calls from solicitors asking for donations for breast cancer.

Unfortunately, the “American Cancer Association” is not a real organization, and is hoping you think it’s the American Cancer Society – a well-known and respected organization.

The Better Business Bureau says there are many fake charities that try and cash in on the generosity and compassion from potential donors.

Not only do these scams cost you money, they also divert much-needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.

Fake charities can approach people in person, over the phone, in a letter, postcard, email or social media post. They may also pose as someone needing donations for health reasons.

The BBB advises that if you receive any kind of charity solicitation or would like to support a charity, do your research first to make sure your contributions go to the right organization.

Tips to spot a scam:


  • Watch out for name confusion. Many phone charities mimic the names of well-known and respected organizations, hoping to fool you into donating.
  • You’ve never heard of the charity before or you suspect the website, email or letter may be fake. A fake website may look almost identical to a legitimate charity site, changing only the details of where to send donations.
  • The person collecting donations for the charity does not have any identification. Even if they do have identification, it could be forged or meaningless.
  • You are put under pressure or made to feel guilty or selfish if you don’t want to donate.
  • You are asked to provide a cash donation because they don’t accept personal checks or credit cards. Or, they want a check made out to them rather than the charity.
  • You are not given a receipt, or they give you a receipt that does not have the charity’s details on it.