National Breast Cancer Month Reveals New Scam “Pinkwashing”

During the month of October with greater attention being focused on Breast Cancer Awareness scammers, both businesses and individuals, also see this as an opportunity to rip-off donors who are trying to help in the battle against this disease.


 As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month many businesses market “pink” products and services to support breast cancer charities and organizations. The widely recognized pink ribbon is not officially licensed by any group and because of that its use is no guarantee that a portion of your purchase is going to be used for research, awareness, or programs that support cancer victims or survivors.

 “Pinkwashing or Pinkwashers are businesses that purposely misuse pink ribbon marketing to promote products and/or services that provide little or no benefit to breast cancer causes,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “That’s why it is extremely important for donors to – think before they pink – or they could find that the dollars they chose to spend did nothing more than fill the coffers of or line the pockets of some less that scrupulous businesses or individuals.”

 The BBB suggests donors:

 Ask questions – Find out what percentage of the sale price will be donated and to which charity. Also ask if there is a cap on the donations or if a percentage will only be donated for a limited period of time.

  • Research the business – Go to to check out their rating and history of consumer complaints with the BBB.
  • Confirm charity affiliation – If a business claims to be a sponsor of or donate proceeds to a particular charity, contact the charity to confirm the relationship. To be certain your donation get to the organization consider donating directly to the charity.


As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.