Donating money to a recognizable organization gives people something to feel good about. Giving money to help the sick, homeless or less fortunate allows those who give to feel a sense of pride. However, there are people out there who take advantage of this feeling. Fake charities and organizations are set up to earn profits. These are quick money schemes that capitalize on the misfortune and good will of others.
Scammers can easily start a fake charity that looks legitimate by creating a website, brochure, or even copying a real organization's name but changing one word to trick people (National Cancer Society vs American Cancer Society-Real)
These fake organizations and scams are usually established around national or global turmoil such as 9/11, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. Emotions run high after these events and the scammers feel people can be taken advantage of easier.
Another target for these make money schemes are the elderly. They are targeted because of their compassion and sympathy. Elderly people are more willing to give money to the children or disabled. Their experience with fraud is also very limited, so they are not as aware they could be scammed.
To be aware and thoughtful of scams from fake charities keep these few things in mind:
Never give payment information (credit card, bank numbers, etc.) when receiving phone calls or e-mails asking for donations. Real charities do not go looking for contributions.
Check the namesof the charities. As mentioned before, some scams will play with the words in organizations names to trick people. Do your research before donating.
Ask for printed material to be sent through standard mail. Legitimate organizations have mass amounts of information and are more than willing to send it.
Look for how the donation money is distributed and used within a charity. Numbers and percentages are readily available upon request if not found during research.
Do not fall to pressure when asked to donate. Legitimate charities are not pushy and are happy when donations are made, but they do not hunt down potential contributors.
Check the payment options. It is common for these scams to set up fake PayPal accounts or other anonymous PO Boxes. Never send cash to an anonymous PO Box.
Real charities and organizations will have real addresses and phone numbers for payments and questions to be sent too.
With the high volume of scams that arose after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, along with other global and national disasters, people are becoming more cautious of donating to charities. With the knowledge and awareness to check out and research the organizations and charities, people will be able to make educated decisions about being philanthropic.
Making the necessary phone calls and research will help individuals from donating money to charity scams and get quick money schemes. Legitimate organizations will be more than willing to answer questions and send out useful information to help a person make a decision on where to donate their money.