Are you following the Israel-Gaza crisis in the news and want to help by donating to a charity? Scammers also follow the news and are prepared. Just like after a natural disaster, scammers create 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 donating to make sure your money helps real people who need it and not everyone else. charity scammers.
Here’s where to start:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record in responding to a humanitarian crisis.
- Research the organization — especially if the donation request comes through social networks. Look for the name plus “complaint”, “review”, “rating” or “scam”. And check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Benevolent surveillanceeither Sincere. If the message was from a friend, ask them if they know the organization. Find out exactly how much of every dollar you donate goes directly to the charity’s beneficiaries.
- Be careful when donating to individuals on crowdfunding sites. Some scammers pretend to be concerned citizens raising money for a cause, but their true intentions are to keep your money instead of donating it to the cause. Giving to someone you know personally and trust is safest. Review the platform’s policies and procedures. Some crowdfunding sites will review posts asking for help after a humanitarian crisis to confirm they are legitimate. Others don’t.
- Donate money instead of goods unless you confirm what is needed. If you want to send products like clothing or supplies, it’s a good idea to confirm with the charity which items they are collecting.
- Do not donate to anyone who insists on paying with cash, gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.. This is how scammers tell you to pay. If you decide to donate, pay by credit card, which gives you more protection.
- Confirm the number before texting to donate. Go directly to the charity to confirm the number. If it’s not their number, use a number you know is real or visit the charity’s website to donate.
For more information, go to ftc.gov/charity.