Bogus Charities: Don’t Become a Victim

( – Have you ever received a phone call from a person purporting to be from a charity you’d never heard of? The caller goes through a long spiel about how they’re helping disabled vets, sick kids, natural disaster victims, or some other downtrodden group. Then, they try to pressure you into giving them your money right away. Yeah, it’s possible that it was all a scam to steal your money.

Every year, fake charitable organizations rob generous people of their hard-earned money. These scammers not only hurt consumers but the legitimate causes they pretend to be raising money for.

How to Protect Your Wallet

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), charity scams are very common after a crisis. The US is certainly going through one of those as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. In order to ensure your money is going where you want it to go, there are some signs to look out for.

  • Overly pushy callers who want you to donate right away or make you feel guilty are a sign of someone trying to scam you. A legitimate charitable foundation allows you the time necessary to make an informed decision.
  • Requests for a donation by wire transfer, cash, or gift cards are a big red flag. Those are all very hard to trace which means law enforcement can’t follow the money trail.
  • A message thanking you for a donation pledge. This is a way for scammers to lower your guard and make you think you’ve forgotten what you agreed to.

What to Do

In order to protect yourself, it’s important you never give your financial or personal information out to anyone who contacts you first, whether it be via the phone, mail, or email. If you’d like to help a cause, go directly to the source. You can call an organization or go to their webpage.

For disaster relief, contact the Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, or some other legitimate organization in your city. They’ll make sure your money goes where it’s most needed. Most importantly, just be aware. Scammers are slick, so don’t let their sob stories trick you.

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