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How to Avoid Charity Scams

 Monday, November 19    CCCU
How to Avoid Charity Scams

How to Avoid Charity Scams
Charity scams increase during the holidays because it is the season of giving. Scammers will often use organization names that sound like reputable and real charities in order to steal money from people, and we want our members to be armed with knowledge of the most common warning signs so that you can still participate in giving this season without having your money stolen. 

Here are a few tips to avoid being scammed:
1. Ask for the exact name of the entity and do some research before you donate. Do not let the caller rush you into making a decision.  You may be asked to buy gift cards or send a wire transfer. Legitimate charities do not ask for gift cards or wire transfers.

2. Scammers usually give vague descriptions about how your money will be used. If you ask and cannot get a specific answer, it could be fraud.

3. Some scammers may say they are contacting you because you made a donation in the past. Know who you contributed to in the past but even if you donated before, you are not obligated to donate again.
Never give cash to someone who contacts you in person at home. If you donate, pay by credit card or check and keep a record of your donation. Make sure you are only charged for what you donated and not that you're signed up for a recurring donation.

4. If you are unsure about a charity, do an internet search of the name, followed by the word "scam" or "fraud.  You may find information from others who have reported fraud against a fake charity.

5. Visit the Federal Trade Commission website and search under "Charity scams."
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.  

6. Other helpful websites that provide valuable information on charities are:
https://justice.oregon.gov/charities
https://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx
https://www.charitynavigator.org/
https://www.charitywatch.org/home
 


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