Posts Tagged: ‘fake charities’

Scammers Create Fake Charities

September 30, 2019 Posted by Pamela M

First responders help in rescue efforts

The world is plagued with natural disasters, often leaving people homeless, injured or worse. From the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris to hurricanes in the Southeastern U.S., the world tries to make sense of the destruction while offering its support. With each tragedy, charities – real and false – ask for donations.

A True Natural Disaster

Whether or not people believe in global warming, there is no denying that the number of natural disasters is greater than ever. The news reports on disasters around the world, including the latest epic disaster taking place in the Amazon. While global organizations and government agencies leap into action, so do people intent on taking money for their own purposes. Charities pop up online the minute disaster strikes, and scammers begin phone call and email campaigns. Their goal is to tap into the good will of the public eager to help ease the burden of tragedy.

Stealing from Survivors

Con artists use the emotions of people during and after a disaster for personal gain. For every accident, natural disaster, or act of terrorism scammers create schemes to cash in from the public’s good intentions. They ask for money through websites, social media, email, and phone calls. Scammers are convincing and the pleas are never ending. If you are contacted for help in this manner be sure to check out the organization before giving any money. Some scammers will even claim to work for a major aid organization or agency such as the Red Cross or FEMA.

Legitimate Charity Organizations

People can research charities on The Federal Trade Commission’s list of organizations. The list verifies real charities. You can also read news on charitable organizations. The blog post “Before Giving to a Charity” shows how you can donate through social media.

Making Donations

Most organizations say donations are tax deductible. The donor may give more money if there is a deduction. However, donations under a certain dollar amount aren’t tax deductible. Secondly, money given to individuals, crowdfunding sites or unofficial charities aren’t tax deductible, either. The IRS lists which organizations are tax deductible. The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search can help you to check an organization’s eligibility.

Avoid Scams

Callers can be pushy or rude when asking for money. Robocalls to make it hard to avoid the demands for funds. If you receive a call from someone asking for money, ask questions. Does the organization use the money for admin costs or marketing expenses? What is the legal name and address of the organization? How is the money being spent? If you think the call is suspicious, hang up and research the charity online. If the calls continue, use a phone number lookup app to block the number from your phone.

Report the Crime

If you’ve been scammed by a fake charity, report it immediately to the FTC’s Complaint Assistant. Give as much information as possible. Secondly, if you have used a bank or credit card to donate, contact the financial institution right away to block the payment. Lastly, you should also report the scam to your state’s Attorney General.