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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of May 28 - June 3, 2003


When to hang up
the phone

Modern life’s indispensable telephone has also become just as indispensable to con artists enriching themselves in the name of "charity."

Thousands of legitimate organizations rely on telemarketing for collecting donations by phone. But pure crooks, who pass along only a few cents off each dollar to charity, have invaded their ranks.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month, however, will go a long way toward discouraging telephonic scams, perhaps even shutting down some of them. The justices ruled that criminal charges were justified against solicitors who deliberately misrepresent what percentage of money goes to charities.

The ruling involved an Illinois solicitor, Telemarketing Associates, accused of claiming that 90 percent of its collections went to Vietnam veterans, when in fact, only 15 percent of $7 million it collected went to a vets group.

Average benefits to charities relying on telemarketers are not that much better in many cases. In New York state, for example, an average of 30 percent of collections go to charities.

Donors wanting to avoid scams or paying high overhead costs for collections have a simple choice: They can hang up when solicitors call and instead mail checks directly to charities without the aid of a solicitor middle man to siphon off his cut.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.