This year is the year for giving, especially with the coronavirus plaguing the globe. There are many holiday charities that you can give to this year to help families in need of additional support. However, scammers know that many people will be donating to charities this year, so they came up with different tactics during the holidays using charities to steal your money. This is why it’s important to learn the types of Christmas charity scams and how to avoid them.
Types of Christmas Charity Scams
Scammers call their victims, pretending to be the holiday charity that they want to donate to. They ask their victims for their personal and financial information over the phone, and the victims give them this information thinking that this charity is legit. However, the scammers then steal this information and commit identity theft along with drain their bank accounts.
Scammers send out phishing emails to their victims, claiming that they are representing a charity that victims can donate to. The victims think that the email is legit, so they follow the instructions on the email to donate to the charity.
Sometimes, the instructions will take them to a fake website to donate to the charity. The website will contain a form that victims can fill out, including their personal and financial information. Once the victims fill this out, the scammer uses this information to steal money and identities from their victims.
At other times, the scammers will state to reply directly to the email with their information. Along with this, they instruct the victim to donate money via mobile payment options, such as Zelle, CashApp, Venmo, or PayPal, or through gift cards and wire transfers. Then with this information, they can commit identity fraud and steal money.
Fake Website Scams
Scammers will create fake websites that look like they represent legit charities. Victims go on these websites via scam emails or Google search results. Once the victims are on these websites, they think they are donating to an actual charity and fill the form out with their personal information.
Then, they pay their donation (along with a donation fee in some cases) using gift cards, wire transfers, mobile payment apps, or their credit card information. Scammers can then steal the victims’ personal and financial information, draining their bank accounts, and stealing their identities.
How to Avoid Christmas Charity Scams
- Do your research on the charity before making a donation.
- Check the URL for misspellings to confirm you are on the correct website for that certain charity.
- Don’t give out personal information to charities if it doesn’t make sense.
- For example, your name might be fine but not your social security number.
- Don’t give out any financial information to a charity that seems suspicious.
- Wire transfers, mobile app payments, and gift cards are not legit sources when it comes to paying for a charity.
- Only use cash or card to make charity donations, and make sure it’s legit before doing so.
- Make sure there is information about the charity you want to donate to, along with contact information.
- Hang up and call back or Google the charity to look for the legit contact information on that charity.
- Check charity ratings on the certain charity contacting you through sites such as GuideStar, Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, or the Wise Giving Alliance.
- Make sure you get a confirmation receipt after you donate.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of Christmas charity scams.