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BBB warns of donation schemes, ‘pink washing’ during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Consumer Investigations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Better Business Bureau is urging everyone to do their research before donating to charities.

Breast cancer, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), is one of the most common cancers among women nationwide.

“Pretty much everyone knows someone affected by breast cancer – and the scam artist prey on this that you are going to give,” the BBB’s Paula Fleming said.

Within the past three years, Fleming said the BBB has received more than 50 Breast Cancer Awareness charity schemes nationwide, three of which occurred in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“You’re trying to do something good, you’re trying to support the cause, but really it’s these scam artists that are taking the money,” Fleming said.

Fleming said solicitations for donations can come in many forms.

“It’s social media campaigns, it’s links in your email,” she said. “It could be as small as $5 but we have heard of upwards of $500.”

Before donating, Fleming said it’s important to do some research and find a legitimate organization to support.

“We encourage you to check out, which will help guide you to legitimate charities during this time,” Fleming said.

Fleming also said to be aware of businesses selling items claiming to benefit breast cancer awareness, something she calls “pink washing.”

“It’s a practice by businesses that claim to support breast cancer research through the purchase of their pink products, in many incidents it’s a t-shirt or a hat, but they pocket the donations instead,” she said.

Fleming said if the percent donated isn’t clear or the business doesn’t provide any information on where the money is going, that should be a big red flag.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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