The Basics of Charity Scams
Charity scams are schemes in which scammers pose as representatives of legitimate charities in order to collect money or personal information from unsuspecting victims. These scams often occur following major disasters or other newsworthy events, when people are feeling generous and want to help those in need. While there are many legitimate charities that do important work, scammers will try to take advantage of people’s goodwill by creating fake charities or using real charity names to solicit donations for themselves.
3 Common Tactics Used by Charity Scammers
There are several common tactics that charity scammers use to trick people into giving them money or personal information, such as:
- Create fake websites or social media pages that look like they belong to a legitimate charity. Scammers will often use the same name or logo as a legitimate charity, or a similar name or logo. They may also copy the charity’s website design or create a fake website that uses a similar web address (URL) as the legitimate charity.
- Contact people directly and ask for donations. This can be done in person, by mail, by phone, via email or text message, and even by social media messaging. The scammer may claim to be a representative of a legitimate charity, or may say that they are raising money for a specific individual or family in need.
- Set up fake donation collection pages on sites like GoFundMe. Scammers will create a page asking for donations for a fake cause, or may even pose as a legitimate charity on these pages.
Common Charities that Scammers Impersonate
Scammers typically impersonate charities that revolve around current events and pull at people’s heartstrings, such as:
- Natural Disaster Relief Efforts
- Veteran Organizations
- Animal Charities
- Charities for Sick Children