Charity scams hit hardest this time of year

Charity scams hit hardest this time of year

This time of year, many charities see increases in donations due to the giving spirit of the holidays. However, there are some organizations posing as charities that might not help who they claim to.

Most charity scams start with unsolicited phone calls. They’ll claim to be collecting money for an official-sounding charity or a charity that uses a similar name to an official charity. They may also use a generic phrase like they’re collecting for bond relief without giving a specific charity name. They’ll then try to pressure you into making a payment right then and there before you can hang up. Often they’ll try to get you to make a donation using an untraceable method like cash, gift cards, or wiring the money.

If you’re thinking about donating to a charity that collects online, you may want to think about doing a proper web search about the charity first. Put the name of the charity into the search engine along with phrases like ‘complaints’, ‘review’, or even ‘scam. Also, make sure that you’re not signing up for a series of monthly donations.

You should also be careful of phishing emails that pretend to be from charities. Much like the unsolicited phone calls, the emails will look like they’ve been sent from actual well-known charities. In one instance, a man clicked on an email link to donate to a charity, and his device became infected with ransomware. Not only did he end up losing all his files, but his identity was stolen as well.

If you’re looking to donate in order to support the cause, you can use the Better Business Bureau’s to aid you in your research of charities.

There really is no level that online scammers won’t stoop to. If you just take a few moments to do some research, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these con artists.