Giving Tuesday comes every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s a day dedicated to charitable giving and a great way to kick off the holiday season! If you are looking to give back this holiday season, you’ll find many reputable, deserving charities and organizations to contribute to. However, you’ll also find a few scams in the mix. Fraudsters will ask for donations under the guise of charitable organizations. Here are a few tips to help you spot these fake charities:
Did you receive an email from a charity that you don’t recall interacting with? It could be a phishing attempt. These emails will often use urgent phrases like “act now” or “hurry”! This language is intended to pressure you into acting without processing. Stop for a second and think “Do I recognize this charity?” before clicking on any links.
Lack of Online Presence
Any reputable organization will have an online presence that proves its existence. If you can’t find a legitimate, secure website for a charity, it’s probably a hoax. To ensure that a website is secure, check the URL! If it reads “https://”, it’s secure. If it reads “http://”, it’s not. Never put your financial information on an unsecured site! If possible, look for customer reviews and social media presence to determine if the organization is real.
Unusual Payment Method
Trustworthy charities will ask for online-donations through secure, traceable methods like a credit/debit card. Be wary of an organization that asks for donations online via mailing-in cash or gift cards. (However, if you are donating to a charity in-person, donating in cash is acceptable.) Fraudsters will ask for online-donations in these forms so that they cannot be tracked later. If possible, always make sure you use payment methods that provide legitimate proof of purchase when donating online. Be sure to verify the non-profit organization with the IRS, especially if you have no prior knowledge of the group. If you are unable to verify their status we would encourage you to refrain from making a donation.
Visit FightCybercrime.org to learn how to recognize, report and recover from charity scams.
This blog was written by Taryn Porter, a past CSN employee.