Some scammers purposely set up fake organizations, taking advantage of the public’s generosity, especially after a tragedy or disaster. If you want to donate, do your due diligent and check if this organization is legit first. You can do so by checking out the charity with your state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau before you give. A simple step such as verifying the name goes a long way. Be mindful that fake charities often choose names that are similar to well established hoping you will get the two mixed up.
Don’t give into the high pressure tactics urging you to donate immediately. Don’t assume that you can get a tax deduction for donating to an organization. What you should do is check the IRS’s database of 501(c)3 organizations to find out if it has this status. If you decide to donate, don’t send cash pay, use another method of payment.
Report Charity Scams
- Your state consumer protection officecan accept and investigate consumer complaints.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission(FTC). While the FTC does not resolve individual matters, it tracks charity fraud claims and sues companies on the behalf of consumers.
- If the suspected fraud is related to a natural disaster, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
Although the Do Not Call Registry doesn’t apply to charities, you can ask an organization not to contact you again.