With all the natural disasters happening throughout the world, unscrupulous scammers are looking to take advantage of our empathy and generosity as we seek ways to help the victims of those disasters. These scammers will be soliciting donations using telephone messages, emails, and even social networking services like Facebook. They will be claiming to represent charity organizations which are completely fictitious or even claim to represent or be connected to legitimate charity organizations such as the Red Cross.
If you decide to donate to any charity organization, you need to do your homework.
- Verify if in fact the organization you are donating to is accepting donations for the specified charity.
- If so, make sure the mailing address to send the donation is accurate.
- Try not use a credit card or a debit card. Preferably send a cashier’s check from your bank and not from your personal checking account.
- If donating via an online service like GoFundMe.com, again make sure the charity is legitimate and be cautious about giving personal financial information, like credit/debit card numbers, PIN numbers, etc.
- Be very wary if they ask for donations ONLY using Western Union.
- And finally, legitimate charity organizations do not solicit donations in the form of gift cards.
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY