How to Avoid Charity Scams
As long as taxpayers give cash and it goes to aid victims or relief efforts. There will be scamers and fruadsters trying to steal either your donation or your idenity.
Here is an actual charity scam email:
"RESCUE Help Family and Friends find their missing
Thousands Killed; Death toll rises Thousands Still missing
Wed Dec 29, 2004
Images from the devastation throughout Asia are alarming and the toll the recent tsunami has taken on human life is beyond comprehension. Your help is desperately needed!
The initial earthquake measured 8.9 to 9.0 in magnitude on the Richter scale and triggered enormous tidal waves, tsunami, that swept across the Indian Ocean, striking coastal regions of Sri Lanka , India , Indonesia , Thailand , Bangladesh , Burma and Malaysia .
More than 80,000 people have been killed...millions remain homeless.
The United Nations has stated this will be the biggest relief effort the world has ever seen.
4000 people still missing in Thailand half believed to be tourist 1000 Germans 1400 Swedish.
No matter what size gift you're able to give it will go a long way toward our recovery & reuniting efforts Every gift matters.
Help our family needs your gifts to help find these family members and unite them
The devastation is immense. You can make a difference in helping reuniting the lives of those caught in the path of this deadly disaster. Please be as generous as you can by donating to Help our Family
Send cheques or money orders to
Help our Family
P.O. Box 1420
Crystal Beach, Ontario
What is wrong with this charity scam email?
1. It's spam and reputable charities don't spam
2. The charity uses a PO Box and does not contain a phone number. Reputable
charities have a street address and a phone number
3. All the email addresses used are havens for abusers. They are free email
addresses where Scam artists hide and PayPal is a fraudsters best friend since it contains a minamum of fraud checks and or idenity checks. Reputable charities don't use PayPal and always provide an email address which is part of their web site
They don't want your contribution. They want your confidential data such as your name, address, and credit card number. They are using a phony charity web site and email to lure you into this trap.
Perform your due diligence and take precautions
1. Trash all email which asks you to contribute and or visit a web site to make a contribution. Make sure these emails are deleted from your cache, temporary files and hard drive with a email cleaner such as.
Click Here to find out more.
2. Use the following resources to investigate a charity before you contribute:
BBB's Wise Giving Alliance
FTC Charity Checklist
The recent powerful earthquakes and deadly tsunamis in South Asia has killed over 70,000 people. I'm sure this devastating event tugs at your heart strings and results in many folks sending donations to their favorite charity. Unfortunately, Spammers are already planning to exploit this event and worst of all, phony charities will proliferate.
Perform your due diligence before you contribute to a charity
Don't read the Spam. Determining which charity is legitimate is a little harder. Your goal is to find a reputable charity which donates nearly all the money collected to your given cause. A round number is about 92 cents out of every dollar collected should actually go to the cause. We have some tips to help you:
1. Don't talk to any charity which calls you on the phone. These boiler plate operations are a huge red flag. Just hang up.
2. Check the name of the charity very carefully. The fraudsters will often use similar names. For example, Kids Wish USA was a scam. "Michael Manzer, was sent to prison for mail fraud and money laundering. This charity promised to grant the wishes of terminally ill children yet it did not grant even one wish, according to federal prosecutor Mike Snipes." Source: Charity Watch Notice the similarity to the legitimate charity named "Make a Wish Foundation".
3. Check the record of the charity with their local Better Business Bureau
4. Ask the charity to send you printed material via US mail. If the material does not contain details on exactly how the money is used and the percent of donations which actually reach the given cause, do not contribute.
5. Ask the charity for annual financial statements and proof of their IRS 501c non profit status. This is generally granted via an "award letter" from the IRS.
6. Avoid all charities that use a "pitch" filled with a significant amount of emotional words and or images.
7. Setting up a phony charity is pretty easy. Check the rating of the charity with Charity Watch before you contribute. .
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