Car Donation Scam: A New Jersey man claims he’s acting on behalf of a charity, advertises local car donation center giving out tax deductions.

In this particular case, vehicle donors saw billboards, direct mailings, and advertisements leading them to believe that the man behind “Ray of Hope” had the authorization to accept car donations on behalf of the charity. In actuality, a used car dealership was posing as a representative for the charity and accepting free vehicles from unknowing donors. Read More

How you can avoid this car donation scam: To avoid organizations piggy backing on the good name of charities, check up on car donation programs online by visiting the official charities website (one that usually ends in .org, unless they’re partnered with an official processing center) or by checking them out on Charity Navigator to find out more about the registered charity and to ensure that the agent actually works for them. To find out if your donation is tax deductible, know that only 501(3)(c) status charities (which you can also see on Charity Navigator) are legally able to give tax deductions for your car donation.

The Scam: Only about 20% of “Wheels for Wishes” revenue benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation over the 2011-2014 period.

Car Donation Foundation uses the “Wheels for Wishes” name to solicit vehicle donations to benefit chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It turns out that only about 20% of Car Donation Foundation’s revenue benefited the charity over the 2011-2014 period. Minnesota’s Office of the Attorney General is claiming that Car Donation Foundation, which is based in Minnesota, lacks transparency, misleads donors, and is too closely tied to two of its for-profit vendors. Read More

How you can avoid this car donation scam: Asking how and where the money will be spent is one of the most important questions you can ask your charitable organization. Visit the charity’s website and consider calling their customer service line to inquire about how your vehicle donation would be spent. Legitimate charities should have no problem breaking down where the money will be spent.

The Scam: Minnesota Attorney General finds that less than 1% of donations to “Kars4Kids” charity goes to Minnesota kids.

Kars4Kids used only 1% of donations raised in Minnesota towards local programs for Minnesota children. Kars4Kids advertises and accepts vehicle donations in all 50 states but its sister nonprofit, Oorah, receives most of the operating funds. Oorah supports camps for Orthodox Jewish children in New York and New Jersey. Read More

How you can avoid this car donation scam: Be skeptical of too-cute sounding names or clever spins on existing charity names (like Habitat for Humans instead of Habitat for Humanity) or organizations that you’ve simply never heard of. Advertisements can’t paint a complete picture of an organization, so research the organization online extensively or consider talking to family members or co-workers about any experiences they might have had with the organizations you’re interested in.

The Scam: A car donor in Hawaii received “Default of Judgment” notice after donating the car.

A donor donated a car to a charity on May 19, 2006. The vehicle was sold five days later, then ticketed for not being parked in a stall on May 27, 2006. Five years later, the donor received a “Default of Judgment” notice for failure to pay the fine or show up in court, even though the car was donated before the infraction. Read More

How you can avoid this car donation scam: Under no circumstances should the buyer/purchaser/transferee sections of the title be left blank at the request of the charity. A legitimate charitable organization not only requires the vehicle title be turned into them, but requires you to transfer the title to them properly by filling out certain sections of your title (see our state specific information on filling out your title). Charities that tell you it will be more work and money for the charity if you don’t leave your title blank are scam artists; every time your vehicle changes hands it should be legally transferred on the vehicle’s title. Similarly, charities who don’t ask for your title at all, do not have your best interests in mind, as you will still be the registered owner, even after you no longer have the vehicle in your possession.

The Scam: In Missouri, “Heritage for the Blind” was advertising vacation vouchers to people who donated their vehicle.

A charity called “Heritage for the Blind” sent flyers to residents in the St. Louis area asking for car donations. The advertisements encouraged recipients to “provide help for the visually impaired” by calling a toll-free number and arranging to donate their vehicles. The image on the ads show a Heritage for the Blind truck towing a car and suggest that donors ask about a “free” three-day vacation voucher. The Better Business Bureau believes the ads can mislead consumers and warns that the charity leaves out important information on its website by failing to explain how it spends its money. Read More

How you can avoid this car donation scam: In addition to checking up on the legitimacy of your charity, also be wary of goods or services promised for your car donation. The IRS states that you are only allowed to deduct the fair market value of your deduction, minus any goods or services received, regardless of whether the company promises they have no legal value. If you donate a car to a charity who promises you free vacation vouchers, you are required to take the fair market value of the vehicle minus the worth of the vacation vouchers and that is your tax deductible donation (consult your tax adviser for more details).

A Car Donation Program You Can Trust

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All car donations through Car Donation Wizard uphold the true values every donor should expect from their vehicle donation program. Car Donation Wizard is the legal agent for reputable, legitimate 501(3)(c) charities who actually use the proceeds of your vehicle donation toward their cause or mission.

We’ve proudly raised over $200 million for our charity partners. Car Donation Wizard returns 75-80% of the gross proceeds from each vehicle donated back to the charity – that’s more than any other vehicle donation program can say. Visit us online or call us at 877-957-2277 to learn more about the charities that we work with. Let Car Donation Wizard make your vehicle donation experience a positive one!

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