Following the Israel-Gaza crisis in the news and want to help by donating to a charity? Scammers follow the news, too, and are at the ready. Just like in the wake of a natural disaster, scammers set up fake charities to take advantage of your generosity. Here’s how to avoid charity scams and make sure your donation counts.
First, slow down and take some time to research and plan before you donate to make sure your money helps real people in need and not the charity scammers.
Here’s where to start:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record with responding to a humanitarian crisis.
- Research the organization — especially if the donation request comes on social media. Search the name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” And check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or Candid. If the message was from a friend, ask them if they know the organization themselves. Find out exactly how much of every dollar you donate goes directly to the charity’s beneficiaries.
- Be cautious about giving to individuals on crowdfunding sites. Some scammers pretend to be concerned citizens collecting for a cause but their true intentions are to pocket your money rather than give it to the cause. Giving to someone you personally know and trust is safest. Review the platform’s policies and procedures. Some crowdfunding sites will check out postings asking for help after a humanitarian crisis to confirm they’re legit. Others don’t.
- Donate money rather than goods unless you confirm what’s needed. If you want to send goods like clothing or supplies, it’s a good idea to confirm with the charity what items they are collecting.
- Don’t donate to anyone who insists you pay by cash, gift card, wiring money, or cryptocurrency. That’s how scammers tell you to pay. If you decide to donate, pay by credit card, which gives you more protections.
- Confirm the number before you text to donate. Go straight to the charity to confirm the number. If it’s not their number, use a number you know is real or go to the charity’s website to donate.
To learn more, go to ftc.gov/charity.
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.
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A lot of people on tick tock are begging for money... You never know if they're real or suffering from what's going on over there. The government should keep an eye on tick tock for this.
Very helpful since I donate to quite a few established charities. Thank you much.
I wish you could make this shareable so I could send to my family and friends and neighbors.