With the International Day of Charity just around the corner, you might want to make it more meaningful by becoming a volunteer, attending charity events online, or donating some of your funds to the less fortunate. Unfortunately, scammers can take advantage of your kindness and pose as legitimate charities to steal your money. Why do scammers use charities as an excuse to scam people out of money? What are the types of charity scams to watch out for? And how can you avoid charity scams? Celebrate International Day of Charity and watch out for charity scams by checking out the article below!
Why Scammers Use Charities as an Excuse to Scam People Out of Money
Various charitable organizations allow you to extend your love and compassion to other people without expecting anything in return. From helping victims of natural disasters to supporting the youth’s education, you can create a positive impact on the community through charities. Given that many people are willing to donate thousands of dollars to these organizations, scammers often use them as an excuse to gain easy money.
While you think your donation will be put to good use, scammers grab this opportunity to steal your funds. They can also easily create fake moving stories to convince you to give them money, like helping sick children or animals.
Types of Charity Scams to Watch Out For on International Day of Charity
Giving back to the community is one of the most admirable and selfless acts. Given this, you should honor the International Day of Charity and watch out for charity scams to ensure that you help those truly in need and not fraudsters.
One of the oldest yet most effective tactics that scammers use is phishing. They will send you an email or text message saying that they are part of a charitable organization. Then, they will ask you to make a donation. However, their main goal is to gather your financial information, steal your identity, or make money.
Most messages will include a link that will lead you to a fake site. You will then be asked to provide your personal details, including your credit card information. Phishing is common during important events like the International Day of Charity, so beware of unwanted emails with suspicious links.
Fake Thank-You Letters
While some scammers ask you for a donation, others will randomly thank you for making a donation even if you didn’t make one. They apply this tactic to make you feel guilty and end up donating a specific amount. These scam artists will then collect your payment information, get your money, and even use your bank information for other fraudulent transactions.
COVID-19 Charity Scams
While COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted, many are still suffering from financial losses because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, scammers continue to take advantage of people’s struggles by pretending to be members of charities. They will spoof charities’ phone numbers and solicit donations for those affected by the pandemic. Others will even pose as the Department of Health or other health agencies. Given that scammers can easily manipulate their caller IDs or use fake sites, it’s best to contact the organizations by yourself.
How To Avoid Charity Scams on International Day of Charity
To ensure that your donations are given to the right people and not to con artists, perform the following actions:
- Ask several questions. Verify the name, phone number, and address of the charity. Ask how much of your donation will be used for their programs.
- Never give your personal information, such as your driver’s license number, address, or Social Security number. Remember that legitimate charities will not ask for your financial information either via email or text message.
- Do not open links and attachments. These usually contain malware and viruses that will ruin your device. Double-check the charity’s web address, too. They might include extra symbols to trick you into thinking it’s a legitimate site.
- Spend enough time on research. Check whether the organization is legitimate through sites, like CharityNavigator, CharityWatch, and Better Business Bureau (BBB). Search the charity names with keywords like scams and complaints.
- Beware of callers or email senders asking you to donate through wire transfers, gift cards, or cash. It’s almost impossible for you to recover your money with these options. So, donate using checks and credit cards instead.
- Monitor your credit card transitions to make sure that you haven’t been registered for recurring donations.
- Do not donate out of pressure. While scammers resort to guilt-tripping for you to donate, legitimate charities will give you time to decide.
- If you think you’ve been a victim of a charity scam, report immediately to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help spread awareness and prevent scammers from collecting more victims.
International Day of Charity: Watch Out for Charity Scams With Social Catfish
The International Day of Charity is a great reminder for you to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. However, scam artists only want to help themselves using your money. Aside from performing the steps we mentioned above, do a quick reverse search at Social Catfish. Simply enter a potential scammer’s name, email address, phone number, or image, and discover who they really are!