Crooks often pose as charities in these effective schemes that both trick you out of you money and take money from those needing it most.
No one wants to be thought of as the bad guy — the self-centered oaf who doesn’t want to give a little change for the September 11th orphans or children in cancer wards. However, you don’t want to be a victim of a phony charity either. We believe it’s important to support the efforts of others to care for our fellow human beings. And at the same time, research charities before giving as it only takes a few bad apples to sour it for everyone.
Some ways to make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity:
- Never give payment data to a telemarketer claiming to be with a charitable organization.
- Never give payment information to someone emailing you claiming to be with a charity.
- Ask them to send you brochures on their organization.
- Investigate the charity online to make sure it’s legitimate. Visit their website.
- Research the charity with the Better Business Bureau to make sure it’s genuine — and that you’ve got the right information for sending in any funds for donation.
In 2001 there was a now infamous email message circulating around the Internet that alleged it was from the Red Cross. The message said it was collecting funds for September 11th victims. It turned out that the website people were directed to was bogus. Misrepresenting a legitimate charitable organization is a favorite scam by con artists, so be on guard.
Another method for identifying phony charities is if they immediately apply a lot of pressure to give. Genuine charities never hesitate to confirm who they are and are patient enough to wait until you’ve double checked their credentials.