Controversy creates opportunity, pure and simple. And in some circles, Social Security benefits have become quite the controversial subject. This makes Social Security, or at least the subject of what to do with it, a great starting point for a scam. In this case, the scam targets those who don’t want to see the program abolished. It’s especially effective with seniors.
Joining the fight to save Social Security benefits — fact or fiction?
According to NJ.com, a group called the National Council for Survivors is sending letters nationwide. The letters claim the organization works “to protect the hard-earned Social Security benefits owed to America’s seniors.”
I’ve never heard of this group. Then again, I haven’t heard of many involved in the cause. But according to the letters, the organization needs donations of $16.45. The money will be used to pay for “an additional 36 referendums on Social Security to citizens across America who feel the same way as you and me.”
The National Council for Survivors is a part of the American Service Council, Inc. Also, the American Service Council is registered as a 501.c.4 charity. This means you may not deduct donations made to the company as you can with a 501.c.3.
NJ.com did some checking on the American Service Council. They discovered the group has a questionable record. Questionable? In what way? Sixty-one percent of its funds go to charity. Twelve percent goes to pay management costs, and twenty-seven percent is spent on advertising.”
Choose wisely — or you’re wasting money
So what’s a concerned citizen to do? Before making a donation to an organization you haven’t heard of before, check them out. My go-to source for this type of information is CharityNavigator.org. Unfortunately, Charity Navigator has nothing on either of these companies. In this case, no record is enough for me to question how much they are doing to save Social Security benefits.
My suggestion is to pick your charities well. If someone is working for a cause you believe in, terrific. Just be sure the ones doing the good work are worthy of your support. If they’re not, find a more efficient and effective organization. Otherwise, you’re throwing money out the door.