Guide: Tips to safely donate without getting scammed
Scammers often divert donations away from the intended recipients.
If you are considering making a donation to an organization, there are some things you should consider to avoid getting scammed, warns New York Attorney General Letitia James.
THE REAL DEAL: Tips on how to protect yourself
The New York attorney general offers the tips below:
1. Check before giving
Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give.
2. Ask how your donation will be used
Find out how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support. Find out more than just the cause. Find out what organization or entity will receive the money and what programs it conducts or what services it provides.
3. Look into newly formed organizations carefully
Often, in the aftermath of tragedies, new organizations emerge to meet community needs. While most of these organizations are well-intentioned and may provide innovative forms of assistance, some may not have the experience or infrastructure to follow through on their promises, and some may turn out to be scams.
4. Solicited by email? Find out who is soliciting
If you receive a solicitation by email, find out who is behind that email address. Contact the charity whose name is in the email or visit its website to find out if the email is really from the charity. Do not give personal information or your credit card number in response to an email solicitation unless you have checked out the charity.
5. Be careful when giving through social media
Before giving through social media or fundraising sites, research the identity of the organizer of the fundraising efforts and ask the same questions you would of a charity.
6. Exercise caution before you text a contribution
Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message.
7. Don't give cash
Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity's website.
8. Be careful about personal information
Be cautious before giving credit card or personal information over the phone, by text message or via the Internet. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization to which you give such information and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.
9. Report suspicious organizations
If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work or that a scam is taking place, report it to your state.