Charity Fraud: How It Works and What You Can Do
Here’s how it works:
Someone contacts you asking for a donation to their charity. It sounds like a group you’ve heard of, it seems real, and you want to help.
How can you tell what charity is legitimate and what’s a scam? Scammers want your money quickly. Charity scammers often pressure you to donate right away. They might ask for cash, and might even offer to send a courier or ask you to wire money. Scammers often refuse to send you information about the charity, give you details, or tell you how the money will be used. They might even thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Take your time. Tell callers to send you information by mail. For requests you get in the mail, do your research. Is it a real group? What percentage of your donation goes to the charity? Is your donation tax-deductible? How do they want you to pay? Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash or wire money. Chances are, that’s a scam.
2. Pass this information on to a friend. It’s likely that nearly everyone you know gets charity solicitations. This information could help someone else spot a possible scam.
Want to know more? Sign up for scam alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.
Federal Trade Commission | ftc.gov/PassItOn
Please Report Scams
If you spot a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261
- Go online: ftc.gov/complaint
Your complaint can help protect other people. By filing a complaint, you can help the FTC’s investigators identify scammers and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money. It really makes a difference.