Passion and generosity are fundamental for the success of a charity organization. That makes the sting of charity scams even harsher. If you want your money and time to go towards an honorable cause, then it’s important that the charity is legit.
Unfortunately, charity scams are a reality, stealing hard-earned dollars from unsuspecting victims. Most people will warn you about investment scams, forgetting that some malicious people take advantage of a giving heart.
However, there are a few ways to avoid charity scams and give you confidence that your donations are going towards a good cause. Consider the following tips for avoiding charity scams.
Take Note of The Warning Signs
Although the details of the scam may change, the warning signs are fairly consistent. There are a few red flags that should trigger suspicion. Some of these are obvious, while others are more obscure.
Take note of the details and look out for the following:
Creating An Unnecessary Sense Of Urgency
If the charity is legitimate, then it will be grateful for any donation at any given point. There will be no need to rush the donation, no matter how urgent the cause. Take your time to consider the cause and decide how much you can afford to donate. Although disasters and crises can put pressure on the need for donations, there shouldn’t ever be an urgent obligation to donate large amounts of money.
Poor Grammar And Spelling Mistakes
If it’s a legitimate charity, then they will present themselves as an official organization. As with businesses, charity organizations prioritize reputation and brand awareness, and so their grammar and spelling should be flawless. Pay special attention to their name and web address which could be a slight deviation from an existing charity.
Requesting Unusual Methods of Payment
Scammers have a preferred method of payment, namely cash, gift card, and wire transfer. Some scammers may even ask for payment via cryptocurrency. Each of these payment methods is difficult to trace, helping the scammers get away with deceit. As a rule of thumb, you should always make donations via credit card or debit card (and keep the receipts).
Confidential Details Are Requested
Charity scams may ask for your personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account details. Sharing these details shouldn’t be necessary and could lead to being cloned.
Do Your Research
Charities use emotive language to tug on the heartstrings of the community and get them to open their wallets. Charity scams do the same. It’s always a good idea to follow a charity for some time before you donate to their cause.
For example, if you’re passionate about empowering disadvantaged youth in the community, then try to follow charities that are doing good work in that space. Research the projects that they have completed and read about their previous figures.
Remember that nonprofits are required to disclose certain information upon request. So, if you’re going to donate a large amount of money, then it’s worth reading their annual report.
While doing your research on the charity, it’s important to ask the right questions.
Consider the following as a starting point:
- Does the charity have a clear mission?
- What are the charity’s long-term and short-term goals?
- Can the charity demonstrate progress already made?
- Will your financial commitment be short-term or long-term?
- How much of my donation goes to the cause, and how much goes toward paying overheads?
You can also keep an eye on watch dogs such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch to verify that an organization is registered. Be careful when assuming that calls for help on social media and GoFundMe are legitimate, as these platforms can be easy targets.
Prioritize Cyber Security
Some of the most popular scams include Zoom Phishing emails, online romance scams, and fake online shopping websites. The online space opens people up to vulnerabilities, and many charity scams target people online.
When donating to a charity online, make sure that your cyber security is up to scratch. For example, make sure that you have an antivirus installed. Also, make sure that you don’t click on any links that you receive from unsolicited contact.
At Anti-Fraud News, we’re committed to providing valuable information and tips to counter scams and fraud. Following these simple tips will protect you from becoming a victim of a charity scam.
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