Even though you may want to donate to people suffering from any kind of misfortune, there are illegitimate charities out there that want to make a quick buck off of your generosity.
Fake charities are taking advantage of technology in ways they could only dream of over the past several decades; creating apps, web pages and online applications that can send your donations to “those in need” through many available e-payment methods. It’s surprisingly simple for scammers and fake charities to steal from those who simply want to do some good in the world. If you’re going to go out on a limb for someone else’s sake, be sure to keep these tips in mind before making a donation.
Where does my money go?
Here is a great list that rates charities based on where their funds end up.
Only Donate to Charities that You Know
Believe it or not, there are people who will purchase the domain names for specific events, such as hurricanes, as soon as the names of the storms are revealed. For example, the moment “Hurricane Tom” is announced to make landfall, they will purchase a domain for support. They’ll then plan to scam people from the start, asking for relief for the victims and playing on your compassion. If you’re ever in a position to donate to those in need, pick a charity that you’re familiar with to keep this from happening.
Confirm the Authenticity of Organizations
When you’re looking for an organization to donate to, take some time to make sure that it’s one that is legitimate. Once your money is donated, getting it back (retracting your donation) is next to impossible. It’s a horrible feeling to know you’ve been taken advantage of. You can evaluate the legitimacy of various charities at the following websites: Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
Be Skeptical of Links
If a major disaster has occurred, be sure to be skeptical of any messages you might receive in your inbox asking you to donate. Hackers may take the opportunity to scam users with phishing emails designed to garner support for those struck by a natural disaster. Links could lead to downloads or infected attachments that could infect your PC with malware. Also be especially wary of text messages asking for donations, even if it seems to be from your provider. Contact your ISP or phone provider to confirm if they are working with any charities and how to donate.
If you would like to donate, it’s universally appreciated, but don’t put yourself at risk to do so. Use the links above to confirm a donation request is legitimate.