Is this a SIN????

I often receive letters in the mail from various charities asking me for money.

Some of these charities sometimes include a check (pay to the order of the bearer) in the letters for a $1 or $2 with the intention that I won’t cash the check or just cash it and send back a larger sum.

I have cashed the checks in the past but I am trying to live a sin free life. I am currently not working so every dollar helps - is it a sin to cash these checks and not donate money back?

Sounds a bit like a scam. You cash the cheque, they then get your bank details.

I used to cash these checks all the time. I did it for years. It isn’t a scam.

I just don’t know if it is a sin or not.

Which charities? I would be unhappy if I donated and my money went to something like that.

It’s not a sin. Anything unsolicited that you receive in the mail is yours to keep.

They are trying to guilt you into donating. I think it’s foolish and a low blow, but it must work or they wouldn’t do it. I figure if they have money to send me, they don’t need my donations.

What I wonder is whether filling out all those surveys that we get in the mail is worth the time, since they say they will send them to various congresspersons, the president, etc to influence decisions. I fill out the surveys but obviously can’t donate all the time. Am I wasting my time?

.

Hi!

That is news to me; the best I’ve seen is a penny or a dime as a symbol of how little it takes to make a contribution…

There are things I’ve learned about “charities.” Most are geared to make money for those who run the “charities.”

When you check (which they have to be upfront about it) they will tell you that only fifteen or twenty cents on-a-dollar get’s to the organization for which the “fund-raising” is being done. That means that for every hundred dollars that they get from people the organization’s cut is only $15 to $20–talk about rip off!

…found out that those “goodwill” containers (clothing) it is the same; these corporation take the stuff, in bulk, sell everything of value and the stuff that has little value is shredded and sold in bulk… then they “contribute” to the various organizations that they claim to support/represent; clearly, their “contribution” would most likely account for the same minimal 15 to 20 percent (if not less since there’s no accountability for the moneys they reap from the clothes).

Now that I’ve placed that in perspectives… when you receive such mailings, does the note/letter state that you can cash the check without any strings attached or does it ask you to cash the check and send a contribution when you are able or are they chain letters where you are supposed to send money to “x” number of people and your name would be put on the mailing so that “xy” number of people can then send you some money?

Maran atha!

Angel

The check I got today is for $2.15 from a retired army Sargent.

The letter states he is sending me this check to get my attention and that I can cash the check if I want.

He wants me to send back a check to fund a Thanksgiving dinner for the troops.

This organization is the Coalition to Salute American Heroes Foundation

I have cashed these types of checks from this organization before and many many times from many other organizations. Not sure if it is a sin or not.

Hi!

It does not seem to imply that you have a responsibility to send any moneys; but it does seem that your conscience is bothering you so if I were you I would research the organizations and when able, if they are legit, send a contribution.

There’s no sin; unless you are using the money out of spite (don’t really need it but I’ll take it so that they stop bothering me).

Maran atha!

Angel

It is NOT a sin. If they really needed the money, they would not bother to send it to you first. You are free to cash the checks and do whatever you want with the money; it’s a gift.

Unfortunately when a deserving charity gets a donation, often other charities pop up that also want donations. I have a stack of requests on my dining room table. I just sent two different checks to to different charities yesterday. Plus, I have church and the various catholic organizations. I feel really bad that I cannot give to everyone, but I just can’t.

Meanwhile, yes, I have received checks from different places. They are usually $2 or $2.50. Quite often I get loose change from them, a nickel, a quarter, or a half-dollar.

Today I got a request from an Indian reservation. They sent me a lovely tote bag, some beautiful greeting cards, a pen that matches the tote bag, and a letter asking for money. It makes me sad that they are doing this and I can’t always cough up the money.

Some of the checks are sent back. Others I have forgotten about and they expired.

It is not a sin. There is no prior agreement that you have made with the organization: apparently enough people send them enough money to cover the costs of doing this. If they send you a check, there is no sin in your cashing it and using the money for yourself.

Besides, they are a charity, and you are in need, so in a way, by sending *you *the money, they are being chariable, right?

Right here doniker:

You have been given permission to cash the check = no sin.

I’m inclined to think St. Thomas More would back me up on that.

BTW, the NY Times seems to imply that you just may be beating some scammers at their own game. Have a look:

An Intolerable Fraud

God bless.

:slight_smile:

I agree with the others that it isn’t a sin. But I do worry that it is something you shouldn’t be doing. For one your conscience is bothering you, which is usually a sign that all is not right… perhaps to protect you. I think getting money for nothing is seldom a good thing, especially when someone expects something for it. It sounds dodgy. I know you say it’s not a scam and you’ve done it before with no ill effects, but most of us seem to think ‘scam’ first off and I am no different… I’d return to sender unopened or resealed or throw it away/shred it. If it was in no way asked for. Maybe I am more paranoid than most (I am a retired police constable after all) but something is bothering you about accepting this money and that is not for nothing. It’s not a sin to accept it, we agree, but perhaps God is telling you to be aware. I’d listen if I was you, pray on it. However, I am on a low income myself so I am terribly aware how it is to live with every penny counting. I don’t judge you wanting to accept a few dollars to ease this, I just worry that you worry about it. However, only you can make the final decision as to whether it’s safe and a good idea, why your conscience is bothering you, pray on it along with all our answers and see what answers come to you. God bless.

Actually I was bothered and in distressed when I stopped cashing the checks and started throwing them away.

Why does that bother and distress you? I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with the checks. If I really needed a dollar that badly, I obviously would be in no position to donate money to anyone.

Hi!

Unless you hit the lotto, there’s no way to “give” to every charity.

My rule is to research the charity/ies before making any donation; those who are not giving at least 65% to the cause are not charities but telemarketing ploys; sadly, the consensus amongst charities is that those moneys they do get from the “fund raisers” were moneys that they would not have gotten otherwise (which dispenses with the actual event: say a poor widow who skips on food/meds to send money to an organization that’s going to pocket 80% to 90% of it–the person is duped into thinking they are contributing with their sacrificial offering, the “charity” agency is barely assisted, and the scam feeds the greedy).

…as for those “samples” and checks; you don’t need to waste time and money in returning them; if it is a genuine charitable organization, most likely they got some wholesale deal or even some free products from various sources; you may pass the samples/checks to the homeless.

Maran atha!

Angel

Well then you have your answer.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.