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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , charity scam, , medical expenses, , ,   

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers 

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve been writing about scams and scammers for a while now. You’d think we wouldn’t be surprised by any type of scam anymore or how pervasive they’ve become. Yet, we’re about to tell you about one of the most disheartening scams we’ve ever heard of.

    There is a family in Warwick, Rhode Island who are dealing with one of the most challenging things a family can go through. Their two-year-old son is battling a rare form of cancer. The community has come together to support the family. Not only through a GoFundMe but the local police are also collecting donations for the child’s medical expenses.

    Unfortunately, these days wherever there is hardship there’s someone looking to take advantage of the situation. In this case, there have been a few someones who have been trying to profit from this family’s struggle. As we previously mentioned, the only two official places where donations are being collected are GoFundMe and the local police department. However, multiple scammers have used the toddler’s name to try to collect money for themselves. Scammers are said to be using both Instagram and Cash App to falsely claim they’re collecting money for the two-year-old.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, scammers even approached the two-year-old’s father. He says that he received a text message from someone posing as the child’s doctor asking for money for the child’s healthcare. No family should have to deal with the anguish of worrying about both a child with cancer and the expenses that entails let alone having to deal with scammers who are potentially taking money that could have gone to the boy’s medical bills.

    It’s sad that we have to be skeptical about charity, but that’s the world we live in today. I’m certain that has caused many people to stop donating to worthy causes because of the number of scammers who pose as charities. You can still give to charity, you just need to do a little research first.

    If you can afford it and find it in your heart you can donate to the boy’s treatment fund at this GoFundMe.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity scam, , , ,   

    The scams after the storm 

    The scams after the storm

    By Greg Collier

    Even though temperatures are returning to normal in Texas, there is still a lot of clean-up that needs to be done in the Lone Star State. Power lines still need to be restored and many Texas residents experienced substantial home damage after frozen pipes burst in their homes. After any disaster, scavengers will descend upon the area looking to take advantage of those in need. The Texas winter storm is no different, and it’s not just Texas residents that have to look out for scammers.

    If you live in the affected areas of Texas, you might want to keep an eye out for shady or phony contractors who appear out of the blue offering to repair your home. If you receive unsolicited calls offering repair service or someone just shows up to your home, there’s a very good chance that they are a scammer. We’re obviously not saying that all contractors are scammers, however, there are many scammers who pose as contractors.

    If you were to accept one of these offers, you could be looking at unfinished work at best and loss of potential federal assistance funds at worst. The Texas Department of insurance recommends getting multiple bids from contractors before settling on one to repair your home. You might be tempted to go with the first offer since you want your home operating properly as soon as possible, but that could possibly lead to even more problems. In turn, that could potentially further delay your home from returning to normal.

    You should also avoid anyone who says they’ll waive your insurance deductible or asks for a large down payment or full payment up front. In many cases, these actions are illegal in Texas.

    For people living outside of Texas, you have to be wary of charity scams. If you receive a phone call, text, email, or social media message soliciting for donations, ignore them and delete them. Most scammers will use vague names of charities like ‘Storm Relief’. They’ll also try to pressure you into making a donation at that very moment. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t donate to a legitimate charity to help those in need in Texas. CNN has a list of legitimate charities assisting in Texas disaster relief. You can also go to Charity Navigator to make sure the charity you’re donating to will actually get help to where it’s needed most.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity scam, ,   

    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 Give.org 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.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breast cancer awareness month, charity scam, pinkwashing   

    Beware of 'pink' scams this October 

    Even though our country is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean that other illnesses have taken a back seat. As we’re sure you’re aware of, October is officially recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, in one year, 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and roughly 42,170 women will die from breast cancer.

    It’s around this time of year that most of the major breast cancer charities and foundations make the majority of their donations. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take money out of the donation coffers.

    Now, we’re not talking about which charities are best when it comes to the actual goal of finding a cure. We’re talking more about the con artists who will try to fleece you into giving a phony donation.

    Any scammer or con artist can slap a pink ribbon on a coffee mug or t-shirt and claim the proceeds are going to breast cancer research, but are they? The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about scams like this that are called ‘pinkwashing’.

    While it might be easy to just buy the first thing that claims to be for breast cancer awareness, it might be better to research a charity that could do the most good. For example, we found a breast cancer charity on Charity Navigator that has a perfect four-star rating.

    However, you may want to consider donating your time or money to a charity that is more local to you. You can do a web search for ‘local breast cancer charities near me’ to find local charities but still do your research and look for reviews to make sure their goals align with yours.

    Wouldn’t you rather see your money go to someone who could use it instead of someplace just looking to make a buck?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity scam, , , ,   

    Scams are their own form of disaster 

    Scams are their own form of disaster

    Along with the ‘usual’ chaos of 2020, the country is now finding itself in a midst of natural disasters. Between the fires in the West and the hurricanes in the South, the country could be potentially be facing more humanitarian crises than we already are. Of course, wherever there’s a crisis, scammers are sure to follow and today’s disasters are no exception.

    The most common scam that turns up after a natural disaster is the cleanup or repairs at a discounted price. Scammers will ask you to pay in full upfront. Legitimate contractors will have licenses that you can ask to see along with their proof of insurance. In the case of scammers, they will just take your money upfront and do very little work if they do any at all.

    Another disaster-related scam is when scammers offer to assist you in qualifying for FEMA relief assistance. FEMA does not charge any kind of application fee. So if someone claiming to be from FEMA asks you for money, they’re more than likely a fraud.

    This can go for scammers posing as your insurance company as well. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your insurance company, don’t give them any personal information. Instead, you should hang up and either call your local agent or the customer service phone number listed on your policy.

    For those of you living outside of disaster areas, you still have to be wary of scams as well. While you may have a charitable streak, be careful of donating to any random charity claiming to be for disaster relief. Real charities will never ask you to donate through gift cards, money orders, or wire transfers. Scammers will also try to pressure you into making a donation as quickly as possible.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Black Lives Matter, charity scam,   

    Be careful of which charities you support 

    Be careful of which charities you support

    With so many Americans supporting the recent Black Lives Matter protests a number of them who could not be on the front lines have decided to donate money to related charities. While we have not seen any reports yet, if history is any indicator, scammers will be looking to take advantage of Americans’ generosity.

    In the past, scammers have used major events in the news to commit charity scams. The most common time is after a natural disaster like a hurricane, however, the recent COVID-19 outbreaks have been also been a gold mine for charity scammers. So it should come as no surprise if we start hearing reports about scammers using the current racial justice movement to fleece their victims.

    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.

    If you’re looking to donate in order to support the cause, you can use the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org to aid you in your research of charities. New York Magazine has also compiled a list of charities that they say they have vetted.

    Please do not let your charitable donation fall into the hands of scammers that are looking to take advantage of the sacrifices that have been made.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity scam, , ,   

    Always check your charity 

    Always check your charity

    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. Recently, police in North Carolina have been warning residents about a charity they believe to be a scam. To make matters even worse, the charity claims to assist the homeless and victims of domestic violence. These are people who are at their most vulnerable and probably need our donations the most. Yet there are those who are willing to exploit their plight in order to make a profit.

    Residents of Cornelius, North Carolina, which is just outside of Charlotte, have been reporting that they’ve found pink bags stuck in their doors. The bags are said to be for clothing donations that would help the homeless and domestic violence victims. It’s not just North Carolina where these bags have popped up either. Other reports have shown the bags showing up all over the Southeast. Some reports have gone as far as to say that the charity is selling the donations for profit. There have also been other accusations saying the charity is actually exploiting those they’re supposed to be helping by making them work in a call center to solicit more donations. The Better Business Bureau has said that this group is a charity but not a very good one.

    While researching this story all it took was a quick web search to find out many of the problems various states have had with this charity. Anytime you’re solicited by a charity that you haven’t heard of, it’s always best if you research them first before donating any money or goods. There are many families who are homeless or in domestic violence shelters at any time of the year. However, this time of the year is especially bad for them. If you feel the need to help them during the holidays, please contact your local shelters to see how you can help.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity scam, ,   

    Are the proceeds really going to charity? 

    Are the proceeds really going to charity?

    We’ve all seen the commercials on TV where if you buy a certain item a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a specific charity. Usually, those TV ads are sponsored by a major corporation whose product is a known item with a reasonable reputation. Also, the proceeds are usually going to a well-known charity that has done good across the country if not the globe. However, in these days of multiple avenues of media, it’s not just television where these ads are appearing. The problem is that some of these ads are trying to take advantage of your generosity.

    The Better Business Bureau is reporting that there are ads appearing on social media that purport to be selling an item for charity. Some of these supposed merchants will even go as far as direct messaging people and will ask them to help spread the word about the alleged charity. What really happens is that there is no charity and you won’t be receiving any item. Instead, the phony vendor is just trying to make off with your hard-earned money, or worse, trying to steal your financial information.

    If you come across one of these ads and are tempted to buy the product you should first do your research. The BBB recommends checking for reviews of the company first to see if they have any complaints filed against them. You shouldn’t be fooled by a slick-looking website either as they can be put up and dismantled in a matter of moments. You can also research the charity at Give.org which is also maintained by the BBB.

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

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity scam, ,   

    States warn of hurricane charity scams 

    States warn of hurricane charity scams

    Hurricane Dorian has already devastated the Bahamas. It’s now threatening the East Coast with damaging wind and rains. Even though it’s been downgraded to a category 2 hurricane it’s still expected to cause major damage to Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Victims of the hurricane, whether in the US or the Caribbean, will be looking to charitable donations to help rebuild what they’ve lost from the storm. While it’s always a good idea to donate to those in need you should always be careful about who you’re donating to. As we’ve been saying, natural disasters tend to bring out any number of con artists and scammers and they often tend to pose as charities.

    Both the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau are warning those willing to donate to not fall for phony charities. Robocallers will soon be hitting up unsuspecting people asking for donations for storm relief. They’re hoping that people are willing to pay the first person who comes along asking for money. Too often people are willing to do this. While the donators’ hearts are in the right place it doesn’t help those in need.

    Florida has set up the Fresh From Florida website to help you pick a legitimate charity. Meanwhile, the BBB has Give.org to guide you to the best charity suited for you and the victims of the storm.

    Some more tips to avoid charity scams include not paying a supposed charity with gift cards or wire transfers as these are the most common tools scammers use to take your money. Also, beware of crowdfunding sites that give vague statements about who the money is going to. If they something along the lines of the money is going to the ‘victims of Hurricane Dorian’ without citing a specific charity the odds are likely it is a scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:15 am on August 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity scam, fallen officer, ,   

    Scam takes advantage of fallen police officer 

    Scam takes advantage of fallen police officer

    We’ve posted about some pretty reprehensible scams in the past. Some of the ones that come to mind are the scam that threatens your family with violence, the scam that targeted victims of a devastating forest fire, and the grandparent scam. All of the scams mentioned are designed to take advantage of people’s emotions when they’re at their most vulnerable moments. Now, a scam has popped up that tries to prey on people’s generosity while they’re trying to heal from a great loss in their community.

    In Illinois, a State Trooper was killed in the line of duty this past Friday. 33-year-old father of three and 10 year veteran of the force, Nick Hopkins was shot and killed while trying to serve a warrant in East St. Louis. Within a day of his passing, scammers were already trying to solicit funds from people in Trooper Hopkins name. While it wasn’t mentioned in the report we’ve read, we can only imagine that this was done through social media in order to maximize the number of people who could see the posts in such a short amount of time. The only official channel where donations can be made for Tropper Hopkins is through the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation.

    Police and fire departments have unfortunately long been the unwilling pawns in a number of scams. Most involve the scammers calling victims claiming to collect donations for any number of first responder foundations. Often, these scammers will try to pressure you into making a donation. Legitimate charities will be happy to get a donation at any time and will let you take your time to think about it. If you want to donate to any first responder charity, the best way to find out where to donate is to call that department specifically at their non-emergency business number.

     
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