It may seem cold to second-guess charity requests, but, unfortunately, there are charity scams out there. Do your research to make sure your donations are going where you think they are.
Not all “charities” are the real deal. Unfortunately, scammers cash in on the generosity of donors, especially in the wake of natural disasters when people across the globe rush to donate in support of relief efforts. Do your research first to make sure your contributions go to actual causes and not scammers’ pockets.
How the Scam Works:
You receive a solicitation from a charity that claims it is collecting donations to help a cause. It may be a postcard in the mail, an email message, a social media post, or even a person going door-to-door. Increasingly, scammers are creating fake social media accounts, even going so far as to impersonate victims of a tragedy or their family members to ask for direct support.
Charity fraud varies from outright scams to a misrepresentation of how much money actually goes to the charity’s clients. It’s also important to understand that only donations to legitimate, registered charities are tax deductible. Crowdfunding sites are rarely deductible.
Tips to Spot This Scam:
- Be sure about the request. Many appeals are distributed by well-meaning people through email and social media sites, but you can’t assume your friends have vetted the charities they ask you to support. Watch out for name confusion too. Many phony charities mimic the names of well-known and respected organizations, hoping to fool you into donating.
- Check it out. BBB Wise Giving Alliance has charity reports on more than 11,000 charities in the U.S. and Canada.
Tugging at your heartstrings is a tried and true method scammers use to get to your wallet. When tragedy strikes, they take advantage. Sadly, the Las Vegas shooting is no exception.