There are a lot of us out there who are willing to make donations to our favorite charity. Even if it’s a one-time thing or when we do it on an occasional basis, we feel good knowing that we can be able to make some kind of difference by donating a little bit of money. However, scammers are skilled at the art of persuading people for bringing out the kindness in them. And it is for all the wrong reasons. What we’ll be talking about today are online charity scams.
This is yet one of a whole handful of opportunities that scammers are taking on as a way to steal as much money as possible from unsuspecting victims. It is important that we know how to spot these scams from a mile away and be able to protect ourselves. The last thing that we want is more people falling victim to scammers. Especially the older people or even young people who may not be able to distinguish the real deals from the fakes.
How Real Charities Work:
Charity donations work in a lot of ways. One of the more common ways for people to donate is by donating some money in a jar. Some have often utilized online platforms like GoFundMe to donate to someone during their time in need. Some major charities even offer you the opportunity to donate online. The donation is initiated by you and only you.
Plus, you can donate as much as you wish. There might be a charitable organization that is near and dear to your heart and you often donate to them. Either way, you’re able to do it securely and safely be it online or in person. Plus, most of the charities are U.S.-based (and they’ll have the information to prove it).
How Charity Scams Work:
Scammers will often employ communications mediums like the Internet or telephone to reach out to their potential victims. If you receive an email, you’ll likely receive it in the style as the usual, run of the mill 419 scam emails (like from someone who claims to be royalty that is somehow related to you in some way). The scammer will claim to be a representative of a charitable organization.
What they’ll do is tell you a fabricated story of some unfortunate incident happening outside of the United States. One of their “go-to” incidents are natural disasters (i.e: floods, fires, earthquakes, cyclones, etc.). Their goal is to tell a sad enough story to get you to become more compassionate and consider the idea of donating.
Also, scammers who claim to be from charitable organizations may also have “boots on the ground” for lack of a better term. Which means they’ll have someone who may be scamming people in person. So, it is important to know whether or not they are legitimate by taking necessary precautions to ensure that you are protected from being their next victim.
What To Watch Out For:
To better protect yourself, we’ve outlined these steps that you need to take so you won’t fall for the bait that the scammers lay out. As mentioned, these scammers will employ every possible method that is designed to meet their end goal (which is stealing as much money from you as possible or stealing your identity). Here are some things to keep an eye out for so you can make the determination if a charity is real or fake:
You’re unfamiliar with the name: You may have heard of some of the commonly known charity groups like the Red Cross or the Wounded Warrior Project. But if you haven’t heard of a charity, then that raises a bit of a yellow flag. This is where you need to use the most extreme of caution. This is where you need to do your research.
Yes, they may have a website that looks legitimate, but that don’t mean nothing. The important thing to do is look for a database that has a list of charities nationwide or worldwide. These databases set strict guidelines for charities to follow in order to be listed. So, see if it’s included in a database. If the name isn’t found, err on the side of caution and move on. Do not donate.
You’re being pressured into guilt about not giving: This yet another psychological trick that scammers use. They try to shame you or make you feel guilty about not donating. A real charity won’t get defensive if you choose not to donate for the time being. They’re usually understanding. But if a so-called representative tries to goad you into donating, then odds are you’re dealing with a scammer.
You’re asked to provide a cash donation, no checks: Most scammers will want cash for these “donations” and not checks. Checks will be hard to cash if you’re a fake organization. Plus, a checking account can also be traced to the scammer themselves. So why cash? They will less likely be traced or tracked down. Likewise, if asked online, they’ll likely ask for your bank account information or credit card information. Either way, don’t give it out to charities that you are not familiar with (unless you confirm that they are legitimate).
How To Protect Yourself:
One of the no-brainer things to do to protect yourself is to never give any bank account, credit card, or any other information that is tied to your finances online or over the phone. Likewise, you should not give out any information that is associated with your identity. As mentioned, you also should do your due diligence to see if this unfamiliar charity is actually legitimate. Once again, find databases where you can find a list of charities to see if they pass a strict set of guidelines to be listed. Once again, if they’re not listed, don’t give out any money.
If approached on the street, do not be afraid to ask for any identification. If things seem off, do not give any money. It’s that simple. Additionally, you can also ask for information about the charity itself. Where it is based? What is the address? How will the donation proceeds be utilized? If they refuse to answer these questions or get defensive, end the communication.
My Final Conclusion:
While most of us tend to be compassionate people, we want to donate to our favorite charities as our way to give back to those in need. However, scammers are taking advantage of people each day and making off with a lot of money in the process. Do not become a scammer’s next victim. Learn how to spot a fake charity scam using the precautionary measures above and protect yourself by any means necessary.
Do you have any experience with being involved in an Online Charity scam? Do you have any questions concerning this scam review? If so, please leave your comments or questions at the bottom of this post, and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks again for checking out my post, and good luck with your success online..
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