How to protect yourself from charitable scams

Giving to charitable organizations is a wonderful thing to do, especially in times of crisis. There are plenty of worthy organizations that are uniquely set up to help and they certainly benefit from the generosity of donors.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of scammers posing as real companies when, in fact, they are fraudulent and designed to take advantage of the kindness of strangers.

In order to make sure your hard-earned dollars go to the right causes, it is important to read up on the ways the scams can occur. Here are a few tips to ensure your money makes the impact you expect it to:

Research the organization: You might have a specific cause you want to support, like disaster relief or cancer research. Search the cause in Google with words like “best charity.” Once you find an organization that you want to give to, search the name of the organization with words like “reviews” or “scam.”

Pay attention to payment: If the organization asks you to give by gift cards, cash, or wiring money, be wary. If you pay by credit card or check, it is safer and easier to trace the transaction.

Know the tactics: Scammers have tactics to pressure people into doing things, like pressuring you to make a donation right away. They can change their caller ID to look like a local area code, or claim that the donation is tax-deductible when it is not.

To read more about how to avoid charity scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog. If you believe you have been the victim of charity fraud, contact the Bank right away.