If you want to make a donation, first go online and research the charity. Check the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission for any scams or complaints connected to the organization. Scammers attempt to fool you into thinking they are a legitimate, so before donating, verify that the URL and email address are correct.
Be very cautious if making donations via social media, even if a “friend” contacted you. Scammers often impersonate individuals and organizations, so contact your friend by phone or email, not by responding via the social media post, to verify that they contacted you about the charity.
If you receive a solicitation via telephone, don’t let the caller pressure you into donating. Ask for the charity’s exact name, web address, email address and mailing address so you can confirm it later. Do not volunteer any personal information nor confirm any when the caller asks you to identify yourself. Do not trust Caller ID. Scammers can spoof the Caller ID to make it appear the call is from a legitimate organization or person.
Donating using a credit card with a low line of credit or with a cashier’s check are the safest forms of payment. Do not pay with gift cards, wire transfers or Western Union.
Always do your research before donating! If you feel that you’ve been scammed, report it immediately to law enforcement.