It’s evening, you just sat down for dinner, and the phone rings. It’s a call from a charity asking you to make a holiday season donation for the needy. You want to be generous, but something about this call doesn’t seem quite right. You’re suspicious.
You should be.
“Charity scams” – people pretending to represent a charity in order to get your money or steal your identity – are most common during December.
In fact, according to a study commissioned by a credit card company, 18% of people have been a victim, or know someone who has been a victim, of charity fraud.
While you may want to support legitimate charities during the holiday season, how do you ensure your money is going to a worthy cause, and not into the pocket of a scam artist?
Here are some recommended guidelines:
- Be suspicious of high-pressure tactics. Few, if any, legitimate charities will try to “hard sell” you to make a donation.
- If you’re solicited by phone or at the door, always ask for the charity’s legal name and registration number.
- Ask for a receipt. Check that the charity’s registration number is on it.
- Make your payment to the legal name of the charity and no one else. Avoid cash donations.
- Look up the charity online, review the website and call to confirm the name and charity registration number.