Posts Tagged: ‘American Red Cross’

Don’t Be a Victim of a Disaster Scam

January 21, 2019 Posted by Pamela M

Scammers collect money for disaster victims.

 

Many parts of the country routinely face weather emergencies: power outages, loss of water, loss of homes, and much more. Unaffected people are asked to donate to help those in need. It’s a noble thing to do to help the less fortunate. Less noble is the fact that someone out there is waiting to take advantage of the situation. Scammers take to the phones to ask for donations, playing upon sympathy and human kindness. Some callers shame those who don’t donate. If you want to donate to help others, be sure that the organization making the request is legitimate.

Scammers are smart. They don’t invent charities. Many use well-established organizations to make the potential donor feel secure in laying out money.

The American Red Cross is the most well-known disaster agency in the world. Scammers have contacted donors by using a fake address – like @redcross.net or by phone. The Red Cross never asks for personal information and advises people to be cautious if they receive a phone call. If you want to donate, call the organization directly or go to a local office. Anyone who suspects a disaster-based scam should contact The National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721 or email the NCDF at [email protected].

Is it a phone scam?

Many people think that scammers are foreigners and that it’s easy to tell if a call is real. That’s not true. Scammers aren’t always located in foreign countries. The calls could come from someone in your neighborhood trying to make a quick buck. The scammers tend to be highly aggressive with their victims.

Legitimate charities do call people to get contributions. The best way to protect yourself is to research the organization before giving a donation. Scammers use fake phone numbers, so you can’t use an iPhone phone number tracker to find where the call originates. Take the following steps to avoid falling for a phone scam:

1.     Ask questions

Question the caller where the money goes. Ask the caller for the organization’s name and address. Scammers may not be able to answer and hang up.

2.     Ensure the charity is real

Don’t donate when someone calls. Charitable and non-profit organizations are required by law to be registered with the state. If the charity is real, you can call back or donate through their website. If you donate, get a receipt.

3.     Don’t give out personal information

Never give out personal information.

4.     Keep emotions in check

Scammers will play upon your emotions. They will tell sad stories about children, homeless people, or those with no water or electric; anything that will cause a reaction. They may use guilt tactics. Whenever a caller asks for a specific dollar amount, hang up.

5.     Report suspicious activity

If you think might be the target of a scam, call The Federal Trade Commission immediately.