Breast cancer charity accused of fraud

Don't Waste Your Money

All of us like to help out a good cause every now and then. But one popular breast cancer charity is now accused by the state of New York of running a "sham."

So how can you tell if that charity is a good cause, or a personal ATM machine for the people who run it? We have some ways to protect yourself.

Pink Items Mean Donations

They're all over the grocery store: Pink labeled potato chips, pink labeled paper towels, even pink cans of soup,

Shoppers, eager to support the fight against breast cancer, are scooping them up.

I asked one shopper if she would be more included to buy one of these products because it has the ribbon. Her answer: "I would probably buy them, yes."

A while back, I stood outside a supermarket parking lot with a handful of "pink" items. Everyone I showed the pink ribbon paper towels and soup cans to said it's a great idea.

No one would disagree with that.

$9 Million Went Where?

But now, New York State is suing the "Coalition Against Breast Cancer," a Long Island, NY-based charity that has raised $9 million in recent years according to the lawsuit.

New York's Attorney General claims nearly every one of those $9 million went to pay insiders, with the tiniest percent of money going to research and mammograms.

The AG is asking the courts to shut the charity down.

But savvy donors would have avoided this charity long ago.

Both the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator rate charities. Both have issued advisories about this group, for failing to disclose how its money is used.

Bottom line: Before giving money to any charity you're not sure about, check with these two excellent sites. Click here for Charity Navigator, click here for the BBB.

They should be able to tell you if a charity is a worthy cause, or a case of don't waste your money.

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