Tugging at your heartstrings is a tried and true method scammers use to get to your wallet. When tragedy strikes, they take advantage.
Sadly, the Las Vegas shooting is no exception. The FTC has heard from people about suspicious requests for donations. A little research will help you avoid a scam and ensure that your gift goes to a reputable charity that will use the money as you intend.
To avoid charity scams, consider these tips before you give:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check them out before you send money.
- Search the charity’s name online. Do people say it’s a scam?
- Don’t assume that pleas for help posted on crowdfunding sites or social media are legitimate. Real victims’ pictures and stories can be misused to con you.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer or be taken to a look-alike website for a fake charity. Look up the charity’s web address and type it in yourself.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number on the charity’s website.
- Designate the event or cause you want your funds to be used for, unless you are okay with the money being used in other ways.
Report scams to FTC.gov/complaint.