ON YOUR SIDE ALERT: Breast Cancer research scams

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month but before you donate, use caution. Be on the lookout for a deceptive practice know as Pink Washing. It happens when crooks misuse the ribbon for their own financial gain.

The pink ribbon is synonymous with Breast Cancer Research and funding. While many fundraising campaigns are a true effort to help, Katy Sawyer with the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation says crooks are not above using it for their own gain.

"Anyone can use the pink ribbon symbol," she said.

A great way to ensure your money is going where you want it, don't be so quick to give, take some time and research the organization.

"You can put in an organization's name find out more about them and also sometimes you can Google that organization and put in scam and see what, if anything comes up as a hit," Sawyer explains.

You can investigate a charity with the Better Business Bureau. Also, before you give up your cash, ask questions and understand how much of your money  goes to the breast cancer cause.

"I think if you ask questions either in person or by phone and people are reluctant or become defensive to answer those questions, I think that is a huge red flag," she said.

Keep in mind if you donate, do it with a check and not cash and you should make the check out to an organization, not an individual, and be sure to get a receipt.

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