You answer the phone, and there's this nice lady on the phone.

She says she works for Greenpeace and asks if you would like to make a donation to save the whales that are being killed in the Norwegian Sea.

Of course! You'll help them fight these animal abusers!

You decide to donate $50 to the good cause—your savings for four months.

Hold It!

How do you know if your money ends up at the right address?

If you're really dealing with an organization like Greenpeace, you're dealing with legit people. But did you know that a lot of these unsolicited phone calls have some risky details behind them?

A lot of charities outsource their fund raising and will allow these companies to take a percentage for doing so. Great idea, but unfortunately these solicitors don't always play by the rules.

For instance, some of these companies that call you will not tell you that only 15% of your money actually goes to the charity. The other 85% ends up right in their pocket*!

So What Should You Do?

Ask the solicitor what percentage of your donation ends up at the actual charity.

By law these companies have to tell you how much they take in.

Of course disreputable companies won't exactly tell you the truth, so play it simple.

Big tip: Don't donate on the phone. Ask the company to send you material about their group. Tell them you'll mail your donation, if you like what they send you.

And Here's Another Heads Up

Many times, if you give to the disreputable callers, they sell your contact name and information to other disreputable groups.

Good luck.

* According to an article by