Don’t give to a charity imposter
December 14, 2017
by Emma Fletcher
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
When you give to a charity, you’re giving because you care and want to help — and you want to be sure your money actually gets to those you’re trying to help. But scammers who pretend to be a charity try to get to your wallet. So consider these tips before you give:
Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash, pay with a gift card, or wire money.
Confirm the exact name of the charity and do some research, especially when donating for the first time. Search for the name of the charity online — plus the word “complaint” or “scam.” That’s one way to learn about a charity’s reputation.
Give to charities you know and trust, with a proven track record. Before you give to any charity, check them out with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
Avoid charities that seem to pop up overnight in connection with a natural disaster or other tragedy.
Don’t assume that pleas for help on crowdfunding sites or social media are legitimate. Real victims’ pictures and stories can easily be misused to con you.
Before you text to donate, confirm the number on the charity’s website.
Never click on links or open attachments in e-mails, even if they appear to be from a charity. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer or be taken to a look-alike website run by scammers.
For more information, visit ftc.gov/charity. If you think you’ve spotted a charity scam, tell us at ftc.gov/complaint.