Beware of Holiday Charity Scams

If you are considering a donation to a charity during this season of giving, Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Hawaii warns you to be wary. Charities use the phone, face-to-face contact, email and the internet — and so do scammers. The Federal Trade Commission, an SMP partner, offers these tips to keep you safe from scammers:

• Ask for the charity’s exact name, address and phone number.

• Research the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam.”

• Call the charity to confirm that it has people soliciting donations.

• Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser. If so, ask the name of the charity they represent and the percentage of donations that go to the charity.

• Keep a record of donations.

• Never send cash. Pay by check made payable to the charity or by credit card.

• Never wire money to someone claiming to be a charity. Scammers often request donations to be wired because wiring money is like sending cash: once you send it, you can’t get it back.

• Never give your credit or check card number, bank account number or any personal information until you’ve thoroughly researched the charity.

• For more information, visit To learn more about Medicare fraud and scams, visit SMP online.

Fifty-four SMPs in the nation empower and assist beneficiaries, families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors and abuse through counseling, outreach and education. Contact SMP Hawaii for free presentations, counseling and how to protect yourself against scammers. This volunteer-based program depends on caring, qualified and professional volunteers to help kūpuna against falling victim to Medicare fraudsters and more. Join our team and make an immediate and lasting difference in our community!

Department of Health — Executive Office on Aging
250 S. Hotel St., Ste. 406, Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-7281 | Toll Free: 1-800-296-9422 |

This project was supported in part by grant number 90MPPG0053 from the US Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC, 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy. The Hawai‘i Department of Health – Executive Office on Aging has administered SMP Hawaii since 1997.


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