How to Steer Clear of Car Donation Scams

Looking for tips on how to avoid car donation scams and do the most good you can with your donation? We’ve got you covered.

avoid car donation scams

Donating your vehicle is a great way to help your favorite charities. Vehicle donations can be incredibly beneficial to trustworthy charities, and grant you a tax deduction. However, there are fraudulent organizations out there, looking to capitalize on your goodwill and generosity. 

Here at Car Donation Wizard, we have been keeping donors informed since our blog began back in 2010. Unfortunately, not all charities — or donation companies — are created equal. There are fraudulent organizations out there, so it’s best to do a little research before handing over your vehicle.

To make sure you’re covered, and your car donation helps the charity you want to benefit, follow these easy steps.

How to Avoid Car Donation Scams

  • Research the organization.

    • Some nonprofits spend more money on their board members’ lavish lifestyles than on charitable work. Charity Navigator is an excellent resource for looking into the charity.
    • Look into the donation company that the charity works with. If you’re constantly hearing radio jingles and driving past endless billboards, you have to wonder how much money actually goes to charity…
    • Car Donation Wizard’s charity car donation programs return the highest percentage of the gross dollar from each vehicle donation to your charity. 
  • Don’t fall for flashy gifts or vacations in exchange for your car.

    • If they are bribing you for your car, how much money is left over for the charity?
    • The amount that you can claim depends on how much your vehicle sells for, minus any goods or services given to you in exchange; if an organization is promising you that you can claim the fair market value of your car….you may want to ask a few more questions.
    • Consult the IRS’ Guide to Vehicle Donation or reach out to one of our representatives at 877-999-2322.
  • Sign your title.

    • Car Donation Wizard has detailed and color-coded instructions on how to sign over your state-specific title, from Alaska to Wyoming, and all 48 states in between!
    • The title is the deed to your car, and if you leave it unsigned, you are leaving the door open for liabilities and headaches. If you have any questions about how or where to sign on a title, our trained representatives are a  phone call away 

Make sure you know who is taking your car, and the work that they do. It is shameful that some con artists take advantage of people who only wish to be generous, so it’s best to make sure you have all the knowledge to make an informed donation, and avoid car donation scams.


Car Donation to American Cancer Society-1970 Blakely Bernardi

Here is a 1970 Blakely Bernardi donated to the Cars for a Cure program with the American Cancer Society.

1970 Bernardi

The sister of the owner of the car donated his beloved car to American Cancer Society because she wanted to be a part of their mission to find a cure for cancer. Her brother loved his car, “Stuart Little”, so much she knows that it deserves to be showcased in a better way. The owners nickname “Dok” which was short for Car Doctor is on the passenger door.

The Bernardi was produced in Princeton, Wisconsin at Blakely Auto Works. This model Blakely is named after Italian inventor of the gasoline internal-combustion engine. The Bernardi design is fitting of a post WWII era car and is often compared to in physical appearances as the British MG TD. Being built after the Blakely Bearcat “S” models, Blakely vice president ArtHerschberger made major changes to the new Bernardi model such as changes to the hood, fenders, windshield, bumpers, a new interior, and better folding convertible top.

To learn more about donating your car to charity, please visit us to day at or call us at (877) 957-2277 and we will be happy to talk about donating your vehicle to one of the best charities out there!


Generous Vehicle Donation to James L. Maher Center

Maher Center Vehicle Donation

We recently had the great pleasure to personally present funds from a vehicle donation, to a charity that is near and dear to the family at ARS, The James L. Maher Center.  This is an organization that is based right here in Middletown, RI. Its focus is to support individuals with developmental disabilities by helping them to increase their independence, self-esteem, productivity, integration and participation in their communities.  It is very special to us for a number of reasons. We have been so fortunate to work with 2 of the men from this organization. They work with us 3 days a week and are wonderful to work with.

We also take part in one of their services, Blossoms, where fresh flowers are delivered by one of their participants to our staff weekly.  It brightens our office and our days to see beautiful flowers on our desks. The proceeds for this program go right back into helping to support the Maher Center’s activities.

A member of our local community recently donated her vehicle to the Maher Center, a 2006 Lexus.  This vehicle sold at a nearby auction and we were very happy with the results of the sale that we were able to present to the Maher Center.  We presented the proceeds check to the CEO of the James L. Maher Center, Rose Morton, along with Deb Gardener (Director of Program Operations), Willow Hoaglund, and Tammy Mojkowski.  Two of their program participants and their direct support provider Mike were also on hand when the proceeds were presented. The funds will be used to help support the operation of their group homes, to help maintain their transportation fleet, and provide training and support throughout their various vocational, educational and therapeutic services.

We are very thankful for this generous donation to a wonderful organization, and for all of the donations we receive.  If you are interested in more information about the James L. Maher Center or in ways you can support them, please visit their website at  If you are interested in donating your vehicle, or reading about some of our other donations, please visit or contact one of our car donation representatives today at (877) 957-2277. 


Habitat for Humanity Car Donation: 1986 Alfa Romeo Graduate

Habitat for Humanity Car Donation - 1986 Alfa Romeo Graduate

Habitat for Humanity Car Donation Feature

1986 Alfa Romeo Graduate

The latest featured Habitat for Humanity car donation in the spotlight here is a 1986 Alfa Romeo Graduate.  When you think about donating a car you may not realize there are some pretty special antique and exotic vehicles donated.

When you donate a car to charity you are usually contributing to the auto recycling industry – one of the largest industries in the U.S.  More than 80% of a car is recycled or reused so most most car donations impact the environment in a positive way.  If that wasn’t reason enough to consider donating a car you are also contributing to an amazing non-profit!

Continue reading


Chop Top Challenge Car Donated to Charity

Teams in the 2018 Chop Top Challenge embarked from Chicago, Illinois and headed South for New Orleans, Louisiana. Cars in the Chop Top Challenge have had the tops chopped and windshields cut off of the vehicles making it a crazy drive as they take on their interstate challenge. Along the way, teams were asked to participate in different challenges to earn points. These challenges were not announced to the teams until they left Chicago, making them think on their feet and have some fun! Based on social media, it looks like that is exactly what they did, check some of the action out on Instagram at #choptopchallenge.

This year, the Chop Top creators brothers, Luke and Joe’s, sister and team piloted a 1993 Toyota Previa in the Chop Top Challenge. They donated the car to charity at the end of their stay in New Orleans. Thanks to their generous donation this mini van will be donated to WWNO public radio in New Orleans. Reusable parts will be taken from the vehicle and the rest will be recycled for scrap metal. After a fun rally race this team is also helping out the environment by recycling their car! I heard from Luke about some of his sisters highlights of this years 2018 Chop Top Challenge and here’s what he said: 

“The girls chopped the roof and windshield on Friday evening and then left Chicago Saturday morning. They braved a snow storm right out of Chicago, got Chop Top Challenge tattoos, and made it to New Orleans on Monday night. Tuesday night they led a parade down Bourbon street, complete with a 5 piece brass band playing from inside the vehicle.”


We are thrilled with this teams decision to donate their car to charity. When you donate a vehicle to a National Public Radio station of your choice, you actually turn your car into the community programming you love. WWNO will be able to turn the car donation into financial support for the local and national programming you trust and depend on. To learn more about the 2018 Chop Top Challenge visit them at the Chop Top Challenge website or follow them on Instagram at @choptopchallenge. To find out how to donate your car visit us today at or call one of Car Donation experts today! We look forward to the 2019 Chop Top Challenge!