Beware of "Charity" Scams
In 2020, Americans contributed more than $471 billion to charity organizations. The American people's generosity helps various causes, including health care, education, the arts, education, and environmental protection.
How Charity Scams Work
- You receive a phone call, email, direct mail piece, or even door-to-door solicitation collecting funds for victims of war, natural disasters or other causes.
- You may receive a "thank you" email or phone call making you think that you have contributed to the charity in the past.
- The request for payment may be cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer.
- You are pressured to contribute right away.
What You Should Know
- Fake charities flourish when large crises appear in the news - whether it is a climate disaster, pandemic, or other tragedy.
- These "charities" may have legitimate-looking websites and names, making them hard to identify as fraudulent.
- While some charity scams are fake organizations, others are registered non-profits but devote little money raised to the programs they promote.
- Legitimate charities are not likely to ask for or accept gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
What You Should Do
- Research the charity via websites, such as CharityNavigator.org or CharityWatch.org, to ensure its legitimacy and to find out how their donations are actually used to serve their stated mission versus overhead costs.
- Don't share your personal and financial information like your Social Security number, date of birth, or bank account number to anyone soliciting a donation.
- Use a credit card when donating - it will be easier to track and if your card is misused, you have protection from loss.
- Be wary of links in unsolicited email, text, and social media fundraising messages; they can unleash malware on your device.
Knowledge is power. You have the power to protect yourself from scams. Please share these tips with friends and family.