Defend yourself from Charity scams
A charity scam occurs when an individual or entity tries to garner money in the name of charity, without fulfilling their promises. When someone or some organization impersonates a real victim and asks for help or, when someone exploits people’s generosity and their will to help others for their personal gain, these circumstances are considered as charity scams.
Types of Charity Scams
One needs to be well informed about all the scams related to charity before making any donations. Some of these scams are discussed here,
- Impersonating Legitimate Charity Organizations
- Non-Credit Card or Check Payments
- Thanking for Donations You Never Made
- Not Clear About Where The Donations Will Be Used
- Service Tax and Hidden Charges
- Sweepstakes or Giveaway Offers
- Not Fulfilling Promises
- When The Bait is High Profile Disasters
- Scammers Prevalent in Online Communication and Crowdfunding Platforms
- Impersonating Victims
Impersonating Legitimate Charity Organizations:
Scammers who are intended to disappear with donors’ money create websites that are identical to real websites that deal with charities. They even mimic their domain name to garner money from the existing donors’ of the legitimate non-profit organizations. They create fake virtual campaigns and fool people into donating. Not only do they take help from these fictitious websites, but sometimes they resort to telemarketing companies to assist them in tricking people.
Non-Credit Card or Check Payments:
Scammers often avoid asking for payments in credit cards and checks as transaction records here are maintained and managed by a vast financial organization or bank. They prefer transactions in cash and gift cards, given by online retailers, as it is hard to trace these payments. Some scammers even encourage their donors to make payments in cryptocurrency as it cannot be traced or changed once the settlement has been made. They sometimes suggest wire transfers due to its lack of security.
Thanking for Donations You Never Made:
Another clever tactic the scammers own is thanking the victims for the donations they never made. Scammers here exploit humans’ psychological reactions and emotions. The emails or messages they send thanking the victims are filled with words that compel the victims to donate to the charity campaigns they have raised.
Not Clear About Where The Donations Will Be Used:
As scammers are not intended at helping anyone in need, they spend a lot of time influencing donors’ sentiments. Their phrases are often filled with words that create a sense of pity. They are often not clear about where or how the money people donated will be used.
Service Tax and Hidden Charges:
Sometimes even legitimate charity organizations deduct money from the donations in the name of service tax when it is not needed. Sometimes they do not mention these tax charges prior to the process but bring it up after the donation has been made. Scammers, at times, never refer to these hidden charges. They just deduct money according to their will and for their own profit.
Sweepstakes or Giveaway Offers:
Sweepstakes is a form of a chance game where the initiator gives away rewards to the participants. Some charity organizations own this method for raising money for the campaigns they hold. People should know that it is an unlawful thing, and such acts are considered charity scams.
Not Fulfilling Promises:
When a legitimate charitable organization garners donors’ money by specifying some work but does little work or sometimes does not even do the job at all, thereby breaching the trust of the donors, these circumstances also come under a charity scam.
When The Bait is High Profile Disasters:
Charity scammers are more prevalent during and after natural calamities and high-profile disasters. They treat peoples’ predicament as a bait and often set high-profile business people and celebrities as their targets. Sometimes they raise campaigns to garner money from the masses and use them for their own profit.
Scammers Prevalent in Online Communication and Crowdfunding Platforms:
Scammers are not only limited to these fields. They are also prevalent on social media, online communication, and crowdfunding platforms. Donors need to be skeptical about these charitable organizations, no matter whether they are contributing to a renowned crowdfunding organization or to an individual.
Charity scammers impersonate real victims who are going through predicaments, to garner money from donors. Scammers collect their images and raise money through the campaigns they hold on crowdfunding websites. They disperse messages attaching the photo along with their bank account number through online communication platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, to trick the imprudent donors.
People need to be wary of the emails they receive asking for help or donations. The link scammers provide in the emails while perpetrating phishing scams may redirect innocent people to fictitious websites that garner personal information, identifications, as well as bank account details. In addition, scammers may deploy spyware in the form of PDF attachments through the emails they send. So, it is advisable to be cautious while opening any attachment you receive from someone unknown.
How to avoid falling into the trap laid by a charity scammer
- One should not provide any personal information before confirming the legitimacy of a charitable organization.
- Make payments through credit cards or checks.
- It is advisable not to open any attachments received from unknown sources.
- Prefer donating to those whom you know personally or to whom you trust.
- Donate to renowned non-profit organizations after confirming their legitimacy.
- Never rush when making any donations. Take time to do your own research.
- Donate after ensuring who is receiving the donation you are making.
- Research before you opt for any recurring donations.
- Seek ratings and reviews of the charitable organization you are donating to.
- Be well informed about all the charity scams to stay ahead of these threats.
- Avoid donating to charitable organizations or individuals who ask for donations in Cryptocurrency, Wire transfer, or Gift cards, as it will be hard to trace them if they run away with your money.
- Remember that a legitimate charitable organization’s website address often ends with .org rather than .com.
Opt for an independent investigation to stay ahead of the threats posed by charity scams. However, you can easily find organizations that help you to recover funds you lost in such forgeries on the internet.
How can I prevent charity scams?
- Research before you donate. Make donations only when you are 100% certain about the organization’s legitimacy. Educate yourself about the basic methods scammers own to prevent falling into the trap laid by the scammers.
What are the risks of donating in cryptocurrencies?
- Transactions in Cryptocurrencies cannot be traced after the completion of payments. So it is safer to make payments with checks and credit cards.
What should I do if I lose money on charity scams?
- There are many fund recovery companies available on the internet that cater to these needs. One can easily find them on the internet and seek their help.