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On “Giving Tuesday,” Don’t Let Your Heart Lead You Into a Charity Scam

Giving Tuesday

Take Steps to Protect Your Much-Needed Donationsespecially on Giving Tuesday.

The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is recognized globally as Giving Tuesday. It is the day where people around the world unite in spirit to show love and support in a variety of ways—which includes donating to the charities they care about most.

That’s the good news. There’s a warning, however, that comes with it. Because whenever people are looking to donate money, you’ll find scammers eager to get their unfair share.

This article gives you advice for protecting your charitable giving, not just on Giving Tuesday, but also every day of the year.

You have a heart. Scammers don’t.

In case you don’t know it, scammers don’t have a heart, which is why charity scams are a major category of scam types. Con artists have NO problem taking money from those good-hearted people looking to help others with charitable donations.

In case you don’t know it, scammers don’t have a heart, which is why charity scams are a major category of scam types. Con artists have NO problem taking money from those good-hearted people looking to help others with charitable donations.

Also, even if a charity isn’t outright fraudulent, there’s a possibility that it could still be fooling you. They could be keeping more money for administration (salaries) than usual. Or it could be giving very little to the people you’d hope would get the money.

When you think about donating to a cause, let your brain—not your heart—do the thinking.

When it comes to parting with your money for a good cause, there are definitely some do’s and don’ts to follow.

Here are a few simple but very important tips to follow when donating to charities.

Even if you’ve donated to causes before, it might be worth it to create a new checklist. These ideas come from reliable resources that want to protect you, including the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—to protect your tax deduction concerns—The Federal Trade Commission, and Consumer Protection Agency.

They’re looking out for you. Scammers are looking for you.

Be proactive, not reactive.

Experts suggest that you take time to plan how you want to give, not give simply when someone asks for a donation through email, text or a phone call. It’s the difference between planning and giving (proactive), and just giving (reactive).

Here’s an example— you can give money to homeless people on the street when they ask for money (reactive), or you can look for a homeless or food shelter to donate to once or twice a year (proactive).

Why should you plan? Because of the great numbers of fraudulent “charities.” Scammers are always nearby after natural disasters or during difficult times, like a health crises. As far as Covid-19, there have been numerous pandemic-related charity scams.

Try not to give in to a sense of urgency, especially if someone’s reaching out to you to get you to support their cause.

Do your research.

This is a MAJOR suggestion from virtually all anti-scam and anti-fraud organizations. Do research on every organization that you’re considering giving monetary support to.

And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense to bring research into the picture. Think about the other instances where you probably do some research before parting with your money:

  • Financing a car
  • Getting a home loan
  • Investing money
  • Buying airplane tickets
  • Planning a vacation

You do it because you want to spend your money wisely, and get the most for your dollar.

It should be no different when you give money to a cause—any cause!  

Research can help you avoid a scam!

In a blog entitled “How to Avoid a Scam” on the website EasyPrey.com, one of the tips they give is “Do Research.” Chris Parker, host of the Easy Prey podcast, explains what to do before simply writing a check or authorizing a donation when you get a call, an email or a text message asking for money.

“Get the complete name of the charity, their contact information, and do some research to see if the organization is legitimate,” Parker says.  “Not only will it allow you to verify whether the charity is legitimate, but it also prevents you from giving money to a fraudulent organization on the spot, without any clue if they’re who they say they are.”

Saying “time out” thwarts a scammers plan—if indeed the charity is fraudulent and not highly regarded.

Which brings up another good point.

Even if the organization might be technically legitimate, they might be keeping more money than they should while giving less to the organization you actually want to support. 

Rating the charities.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were websites that compiled information on these charities for you? The good news is, there are!

One of them is CharityNavigator.org.

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Their team of professional analysts examine thousands of non-profit financial documents. They then develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America’s best-known (and some lesser-known, but still worthy) charities.

Stay safer by subscribing to the Easy Prey podcast.

Charity scams are just one of the topics that have been covered on the Easy Prey podcast, hosted by Chris Parker. Chris is also the CEO and founder of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com

You can sign up to receive an alert whenever a new podcast episode has been posted.

Give wisely and your money can help change the world.

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