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So you received a call from a guy with a deep voice telling you the first responders need you help to keep their equipment in top shape so they can respond to emergencies.

He explains that recent emergencies have shown that their equipment needs to be upgraded and "Don't you want your first responders to have the best equipment possible when they are risking their lives for you and others?"

So you agree to give them a $50 donation using your credit card - and you feel real good about it. Don't.

The guy with the deep voice is not a first responder. He is a professional fundraiser. And if you had asked, he would have been legally obligated to tell you that only 10 percent of your donation will actually go to supporting the first responders - in other words, you only donated five bucks.

The rest, $45, goes to the voice and his organization. And this border line fraud goes on for requests for donation to police, sheriffs, nurses, orphans, animals, you name it.

Next time you get the call, ask this simple question: "What percentage of my donation actually goes to the charity?" You will most likely be shocked to hear that it is only 10 or 15 percent - unless the caller just hangs up after the question which many of them do.

Rather than giving money over the phone, call the recipient you like and ask them where to send the check. That way they get 100 percent. Generous giving is a good thing - being ripped off is not.

Henry Bunsow