Don’t Fall Prey to a Charity Scam!
Who Are You Donating to?
Scam artists often try to take advantage of people’s charitable instincts, generosity, and good intentions. When you make a philanthropic donation, take steps to protect yourself from these unscrupulous criminals, and establish that your contribution is really going to support a legitimate cause.
- Verify the charity’s authenticity through online resources like BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar.
- Beware of charities with names similar to better-known charities; these are often scams.
- Before donating to anyone claiming to be fundraising for local firefighters, local police, or other local groups, confirm the affiliation with the local agency.
- Visit the charity’s official website. Websites for most legitimate non-profit organizations end in ‘.org’ instead of ‘.com.’ Avoid websites that ask for detailed personal information.
- Exercise caution if you are asked for information that is not necessary for making a donation. Scam artists may request personal information, such as a social security number.
- Do not respond to emails in which a person claims to be a victim and asks for specific help.
How Are You Donating?
- Avoid clicking links in emails or on social media sites to donate, as they may install malware on the computer being used. Instead, go directly to the charity’s website.
- Never donate over a phone call or via email. Always ask for information to be mailed to you.
- Always make donations with a check.
- Recognize that organizations asking for donations in the form of cash or wire transfer could be scams, as these transactions make it impossible to get your money back.
- Always keep track of how much you have donated, to what causes, and when. This information will be useful during tax season.
Where is the Donation Going?
- Ask how much of the donation is going directly to the cause.
- Be skeptical of claims that 100% of donations go to the cause. All charities need to allocate resources towards administration and fundraising.
What Are You Getting Out of It?
- Always verify that the donation is tax-deductible, not tax-exempt.
- Be wary of any assurances regarding a sweepstakes winning. Donations to a charity are not prerequisites to winning a sweepstakes.
About U.S. Security Associates
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