- Research the cause or the organization. Search online for the name of the organization or cause with words like “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.” See if others have had good or bad experiences with the charity. Check out what charity watchdog groups say about that organization.
- Know that it’s ok to ask questions. If the request for a donation is over the phone, the caller should be able to answer critical questions. For example, how much of your donation will go to the program you want to help? Is the caller raising funds for a charity or for a Political Action Committee (PAC)? (Donations to PACs are NOT tax deductible.)
- Slow down. You don’t have to give over the phone, and anybody who pressures you might be someone you want to avoid giving to.
- Know who’s making the request. Don’t assume a request to donate is legitimate because a friend posted it on social media. Your friend might not personally know the charity or how it spends money. When you do your own research, double-check the exact name of the organization. Scammers will pick names or use website addresses that sound very similar to legitimate well-known charities.
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.
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