During times of crisis brought on by natural disasters and national tragedies, many people want to do their part by giving to charity to help victims and their families. Unfortunately, scam artists can prey on the generosity of others by setting up fraudulent charities and soliciting funds.
Scammers use the same methods to solicit donations as real charities do: telemarketing, door-to-door contact, email, mobile devices, and the internet including social media sites.
If you’re considering a request for a donation to a charity, research the organization before giving them your money.
Tips For Spotting A Charity Scam:
- Do Your Research Before Giving – Ask for detailed information about the organization including name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. Search online for substantiating information as well as for their reputation using services like ChecktheCharity.com, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, or others. Contact the organization directly if you decide to donate.
- Be Wary of ‘New’ Charities – Charitable organizations that start in response to current events and natural disasters should be avoided. Even if they are legitimate, they most likely do not have the infrastructure in place to get the donations to the affected people or area.
- Avoid These Tell Tale Signs – Charities or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about their identity, mission, costs, or how the donation will be used. Charities that use names closely resembling those of better-known organizations. Organizations that thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making. Those that use high pressure tactics to get you to donate immediately. Anyone asking for donations in cash or by wire transfer. Those that offer to send a courier to collect your donation immediately. Any organization that guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution.
For additional information please visit our Charity Fraud Center. If you believe you have been victimized by a scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.