Sadly, scammers know just how to use tragic situations to their benefit, often at the expense of true charity organizations.
Stay vigilant and don’t get caught in their traps with some of these tips from the Federal Trade Commission. Watch out for any solicitor who shows signs of these types of behavior:
- Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
- Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
- Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
- Will send a thank you card for a pledge you don’t remember making.
- Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
- Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
- Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
- Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win sweepstakes.*
If you are approached by a charity or want to investigate an organization prior to making a donation, you can check if the charity is registered in your state and if they are trustworthy by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a charity scam or if a fundraiser has violated Do Not Call rules, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Your complaints can help detect patterns of wrong-doing and lead to investigations and prosecutions.