How to Detect Fake Charity Scams

Shocked person who got scammed

You may be surprised how often you can encounter scams, even when logic would dictate otherwise. Even endeavors like charities are not free from fraud. Scammers do not spare humanitarian efforts but seek to exploit the philanthropy of others for profit.

An Unfortunate Example

Accusations of misanthrope can be leveled at con artists who manipulate those who are magnanimous. For instance, some of the worst disasters in the United States have given rise to fraudulent activity. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the South East region of America, particularly the Bahamas, Florida and New Orleans. With nearly 2000 casualties and over 125 billion in losses, it was apparent that the obliteration was of seismic proportions.

However, witnessing one of the most lethal cyclones ever recorded on American soil did not deter con artists. Their depravity was indeed without boundaries since the FBI estimated that nearly 4,000 new websites were created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to take advantage of unsuspecting donors. Plenty of impostors posed as legitimate charitable organizations such as the Red Cross.

Those in dire straits are in desperate need of resources. Secondly, those who are compassionate make significant contributions to the cause. To misappropriate these funds means both parties are worse off. This is why we will share a few ways of determining when a charitable initiative is a hoax.

Signs of Trouble

The 2010 Haiti earthquake, the tsunami in Tohoku, Japan a year later and 9/11 are instances where money was swindled from those in need. With the benefit of hindsight, we can glean how detrimental charity scams can be.

Do Your Research

Before making a sizeable donation, it is best advised to conduct your own checks. Ensure that the organization is legitimate. Check with any friend who may be also be involved in this capacity. Word of mouth is a good way to gauge the validity of charities. Only dispense with your money when you are confident about their authenticity. Another vetting technique is to locate the regulating agency in your area. Charities may have a governing body. Finding the authoritative association is recommended before approaching charities.

Also, use the internet to your advantage. Proper initiatives are bound to have some form of presence online. It is better to have awareness than making a spontaneous donation. For example, it is possible that individuals may approach you on a pedestrian level and try to educate you about their cause in the hopes that you may bestow some cash. You may be forgiven if you are swayed by their story and end up giving them something. However, that is not the best policy to adopt. Rather, look them up online. You can always make the donation later and it is highly advisable to not donate in cash. A check or some other medium where the money can be traced would be a much more practical approach.

If the charity is legitimate, you will be able to find vital information online, such as how they allocate your donations and where their presence is. Find testimonials or reviews on any search engine which verify their status as the real deal.

Ask questions

Scammers often employ tactics like using names which are similar to the actual initiative. This is most paramount with emails. You may receive messages that tell you they are lost in a country and need money or their father was taken prisoner and they need funds to bail him out or any variation of these examples (widely used in email scams by a process called phishing). Similarly, they may send what looks like an email from a legitimate bank or organization telling you that your account has expired or they need information from you for any number of reasons. The IRS has a handy website on charitable scams.

The thought process behind this is that people are attracted to familiar names when they are giving their donations. If the details in the email are missing, contain misspellings and grammar errors or the demeanor of the email is precarious in any way, it is best not to interact with them and never click a link or download an attachment if you have the slightest suspicion that this is not real. If you do, you may be susceptible to any number of viruses.

When you are engaged with a representative, probe them with genuine queries. This will distinguish the real workers from those with ulterior motives. For instance, certified charities will be honest about their expectations and will divulge information readily. On the other hand, those aiming to extort your valuable money may fail to disclose any evidence or evade your questions.

It is only logical to pose questions and want answers in response. Wanting the address of the charity, their contact details, tax details regarding your donation and their partnerships are common inquiries donors can make. This will separate a truthful organization from a fraudulent one.

Do not give in to pressure

Do not buckle under pressure from solicitors if you want your money to reach those who are actually in need. It is within the realm of possibility that representatives from charities may come across as assertive in their behavior. They have to work hard to collect funds for their cause which is why they can seem brash at times. This is where the lines are blurred between real and fake. Con men may be equally forceful.

The best course of action is to look before you leap in this situation. If an individual is trying to coax you and their behavior is aggressive and belligerent, then it is best to be mature. You must avoid them whether they are on the street or at your doorstep. Misbehavior should not be tolerated. If the organization is real then their employees will retreat politely. If they are persistent, then that may indicate their lack of authenticity.

Posted On April 14, 2018