They say that the world has become smaller with technology and the Internet. This is probably the reason why despite the various tragic events and calamities that have happened in different countries, aid has never been a problem. Rescue teams, food, medicine, and financial aid can easily reach those who need it the most. The bad news, however, is that crooks and scammers also have taken this as an opportunity to trick people into sending donations not to those who have been stricken with calamities, but to fraudulent groups and organizations.
People’s kind-heartedness should never be abused. So, before sending a donation to charitable institutions or groups, make sure that you’re sending it to the right people. Here are some ways on how to detect and prevent charity fraud.
1. Know more about the organization that is asking for donation.
Do not be tricked by websites and domains. It is best to ask the name of the charitable group, the contact information, and the tax identification number. There are many ways to verify if something is a scam or not. Make an effort so that your aid will really go those who need it, and not to scammers. It is also best not to answer to emails, and entertain phone calls from individuals who claim that they have been victimized by calamities. There are official channels where you can extend your help. Contacting the American Institute of Philanthropy or visiting their website can help you in checking the charity that you are planning to send your donations to.
2. Do not be tricked by deadlines pressuring you to “act now.”
Though there is a sense of urgency in helping victims of calamities, official groups and charitable organizations will never pressure people and individuals directly to send in their donations on a specific date and time. Legitimate groups will encourage you to donate, but will never pressure you to pay.
3. Groups or individuals who ask for your Social Security, credit card or bank account number are not legitimate charitable groups.
Identity theft can also be a consequence if you are not careful in making donations. There is no need for you to reveal personal information that will make you susceptible to identity theft. Legitimate charitable groups, like the Red Cross will never ask for your Social Security. Know that it is not required for you get a receipt for tax-deductible contribution, since this is the excuse that solicitors would usually tell you when they’re asked to explain why they’re asking for personal information.
4. Legitimate charitable organizations will not push for cash donation.
During certain calamities and other tragic events, cash is not the only necessity. There are many ways to help. You can do volunteer work, send clothes, medicine, clothes, and packed food and goods. Moreover, be careful with groups who ask for “cash only” transactions. After all, it makes more sense to donate via credit or debit card and check for security purposes.
If you want to help, then your aid should go to the right groups and organizations. Be wise. Never let scammers and thieves take advantage of other people’s misery, or abuse your kindness.