How to Avoid Charity Phone Scams

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is an estimated 1,685,210 people that will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in 2016. With this shocking rate, there’s a high possibility that we know or are someone who is affected by cancer. Because of this reason, scammers have used this opportunity to pretend to be a charitable organization dedicated to putting an end to cancer.

There are many great charitable organizations that use your donations to make a difference in the world, however, the Federal Trade Commission filed charges in 2015 against a few cancer “charities” that lied to donors. Rather than using donations to assist cancer patients, these “charities” spent them on luxury vacations and personal use.

How were the criminals able to acquire almost $200 million in donations? Telemarketing campaigns. It can be very hard to identify a fake charity phone scam since the callers use fake identities and spoofed caller ID’s to cover up their phone numbers.

Here are three simple ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of charity phone scams:

1) Ask for details
Ask the caller for additional information including their full name, charity’s location and how donated funds are used. A fake representative might not be able to answer, get defensive, or even end the call.

2) Verify the legitimacy of the organization
Verify both the organization’s existence and credentials. Legitimate charities should be registered with your state and national organizations can be verified through The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

3) Don’t disclose your information
Avoid providing personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you’re asked for payments. A majority of charities now give the option for online donations via their website.

If you suspect a charity phone scam, make sure to report it immediately to FTC.

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