The state Attorney General’s office, Secretary of State and Better Business Bureau are warning people not to be misled by two Pierce County businesses claiming to be charities.
Telemarketers from the organizations — called Jobs for the Homeless and American Homeless and Disadvantage (sic) Workers – are contacting people and asking them to buy trash bags, light bulbs and gift cards at jacked up prices.
They say that the money spent on the items will go to help the homeless or support employment for people with disabilities, according to joint news release from state officials and the BBB.
But state records show that the two organizations are not registered as charities, meaning that “they can’t suggest that the money they collect from the sales of their products will be used for any benevolent purpose,” the news release says.
Consumers have filed complaints with the three agencies about the businesses. People who had agreed to give “donations” to groups in exchange for gift cards were instead mailed invoices saying they owed more money, according to the news release.
In some cases, people never received the products that they paid for.
Jobs for the Homeless is a sole proprietorship run by David B. Archibald with a mailing address in Tacoma and a physical address in Fife, according to the Department of Revenue Web site.
American Homeless and Disadvantage Workers is run by Biancco M. Gardner and uses the same mailing address as Jobs for the Homeless.
Gardner told the Secretary of State’s office that he plans to register as a charity, the news release states.
Before you donate money to a charity:
– Make sure the charity is legitimate. You can do this by checking with Web sites and consumer agencies including the Secretary of State’s Web site and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
– Give to organizations that you are familiar with and trust.
– Ask exactly how your money will be used.
– Pay by check and protect your personal information.
– Keep records of your contributions.
If you believe you are the victim of a charity fraud, call the Attorney General’s office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 1-800-551-4636 or file a complaint online.