During hard times, such as the coronavirus pandemic, most people look for ways that they can give back to their community to help those in need. Most people within a community show off their good-hearted nature by giving back when they can, and feeling like they contributed to those who needed the help. However, scammers know the good-hearted nature of most individuals and want to take advantage of their money by coming up with fake coronavirus charities.
What Are Fake Coronavirus Charities?
Fake coronavirus charities are made by scammers to seem like legit charities that are giving a lot of money to those in need of additional support due to the coronavirus. They convince many innocent people to donate to these charities, then take advantage of their good hearts and keep the money for themselves.
Types of Fake Coronavirus Charities
Fake GoFundMe Accounts
Scammers pose as the victim’s family on Facebook and post fake GoFundMe accounts asking to donate for a family member’s funeral. People then feel grief, knowing that their family member passed away, and donate to the GoFundMe account feeling bad and wanting to help. The scammers then steal the money donated to them and keep it for themselves.
Door-to-Door Fake Charity Volunteer
Scammers go door-t0-door at their victims’ houses, asking for donations for their charities. They either sell something, like coupon books and claim that all profits made will go back to the charity they are representing. However, they keep all your money for themselves instead and use it for their own selfish reasons.
One charity foundation that is being impersonated by scammers is the Dayton Foundation. They have stated that if someone goes door-to-door selling coupon books pretending to be them, that it isn’t them. Each coupon book is worth $30, and the profits of each book are going to scammers.
Robocall Fake Charities
Scammers pretend to be charities and call their victims, asking them to donate to a good cause. They ask for the victims’ personal and bank account information over the phone as a form of payment for the fake coronavirus charities their victims are paying for.
After this, the money then goes to the scammers so that they can use your hard-earned money on whatever they want, and they also know your personal information so that they can commit identity theft.
Email/Text Fake Link to Donate to Charity
Victims get a text message or an email from scammers, claiming to be a charity providing relief to people due to the coronavirus. These emails and text messages usually contain links for people to click on in order to donate to these charities.
Once they click the links, malware gets installed on their devices and they are asked to provide personal information and bank account information to provide to the charity. Their life savings then get stolen and provided back to the scammers rather than get donated to a good cause.
How to Avoid Fake Coronavirus Charities
- Don’t give out any of your personal information. There is no excuse as to why someone you don’t know would need your social security number or bank account information unless they were trying to scam you.
- Don’t click on any suspicious links. These links provided over text messages or emails can cause viruses and malware on your device which can steal any personal information stored on your computer and give it to the scammers. Also, if you fill out the forms on the links given, you’re giving scammers that personal information to steal money from your bank accounts.
- Verify with your loved ones that you’re donating to the right GoFundMe account. Call your loved ones or message them on their trusted accounts to make sure that you are donating to their correct GoFundMe account. If their profile seems suspicious like someone hacked it, call their trusted phone number to make sure everything is ok with their social media profiles.
- Don’t answer the door to anyone you don’t know. While there are some trusted door-to-door salespeople out there, there are also those who try and scam innocent people out of money. To stay safe, don’t answer the door or give money to someone that looks suspicious, and do your research before giving that person any money or information.
- Do your research before donating to a charity. Make sure a charity is legit by searching it on Google, Wise Giving, or Guidestar and finding accurate sources and reviews that confirm you’re donating to a real charity.
- Do not donate by gift card or wire transfer. With a credit or debit card, it is easier to claim fraud if you accidentally donate to a scam organization and to get your money back. With a gift card or wire transfer, the money isn’t trackable and chances are you won’t get your money back.
- Report any fake charities to GoFundMe or the FTC. This will allow these fake organizations or accounts to get shut down so that no one else gets scammed.
If you feel like you have donated to a fake charity and have information on the suspected scammer, Social Catfish can help you! We have a reverse search tool that can look up any name, email address, phone number, username from a social media platform, and image to figure out who you were actually talking to.