The season of giving is here. If you celebrate Christmas, you might be about to fill some stockings. But, for many, holiday giving includes supporting charitable causes. Charities in need of support will be making year-end appeals by phone, mail, email, and social media. Scammers know that, too, and every year try to trick people into giving to them, not the real deal. So here are some steps to take to make sure the charity is real and your money will support the programs you care about.
- Check out the charity before you donate. Search online with the name of the charity plus words like “complaint,” “review,” or “scam.” Ask how much of your donation will go to the work of the charity (versus, say, fundraising). Learn more by seeing what organizations like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and Candid say about how a charity does its business and spends its money.
- Double-check the name. Scammers sometimes use names that sound like real charities that you know and trust.
- Don’t be rushed. Scammers love to pressure you to make fast decisions and pay them. But take it slow. Real charities will be happy to get your donation when you’re ready.
- Avoid donations by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, or money transfer service — if they demand to be paid that way. That’s how scammers ask to be paid. Your safer bet is to pay by credit card.
- Report charity scams at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your report can help people in your community protect themselves from charity scams and other types of fraud. The FTC uses reports like yours to investigate and bring law enforcement cases.
Check out ftc.gov/charity for more, including on giving through online platforms. And take a moment to check out, and share, this charity fraud video. Happy giving!
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.