Avoiding Charity Scams
Don’t allow your generosity to be taken advantage of. Criminals might call you directly and make a plea for humanitarian aid. Some choose to impersonate legitimate organizations, while other con artists use a carefully crafted charity name to deceive you.
Scammers may use social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, fake websites, emails, or even go door-to-door to get you to part with your hard-earned money.
5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Donating:
1. Do your research. Before donating to any charity, take the time to look up information on the organization. Check their website, read their annual report, and search for news articles about them. Make sure they are a legitimate charity and that they are actually doing the work they claim to be doing. You can also visit websites such as Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, or the Better Business Bureau to do your research.
2. Don't give in to pressure. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get people to donate quickly. If someone is pressuring you to donate right away, it's a red flag.
3. Be wary of unsolicited requests. If someone contacts you out of the blue asking for a donation, be cautious. Legitimate charities typically do not cold-call or send unsolicited emails or letters.
4. Watch out for fake charities. Scammers often create fake charities that sound similar to real ones. Make sure you are donating to the correct organization.
5. Never give out personal information. Legitimate charities do not need your Social Security number or other personal information to accept a donation. If someone is asking for this type of information, it's likely a scam.
What to do if you’re a victim?
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a charity scam, report it.
- Immediately file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- Contact the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your charitable donations are going to a worthy cause and not lining the pockets of scammers.