Wildfires raging out West. The hurricane season. Civil unrest. And all of this happening during a global pandemic that has claimed its own devastating share of deaths and cost people their livelihoods. In response to these events, the season of giving is starting even before the usual holidays, since we all just want to help where and as we can.
But shameless scammers want to help themselves to your money. And they’re competing with legitimate charities, taking advantage of your generosity. So, as you open your heart and wallet to help people and causes, be sure to consider these tips for safe giving:
- Never let anyone rush you into donating. Pressuring you to act right away is something that scammers do.
- Don’t assume the charity appeals you see online or on social media are legitimate, even if someone you know sends them to you. Even if a group sounds legit, know that some scammers use names that sound like real charities, only they’re not. So:
- Before you donate, research the name of the organization or cause. Search their name online, plus the words “scam,” “fraud,” or “complaint.”
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser is registered in your state. Check with your state’s charity regulator to find out. If the charity isn’t registered, consider donating elsewhere.
To get more tips on how to spot and avoid charity scams, go to ftc.gov/charity — and check out the video below. And if you think you’ve spotted a fake charity, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.