It is expected that out of tragedy comes humanity. In the aftermath of the mass shootings in Orlando last week, scores of people have stepped up to provide relief in the form of monetary donations. GoFundMe pages have been established, and local charities have accepted donations of all kinds.
This outpouring of generosity has not been widely accepted, but giving to charities is not without its pitfalls. Essentially, unscrupulous people have set up fake websites impersonating charities and proposing to accept donations even though they have no intention of giving the money to those who need it.
To avoid being victimized, those who want to donate should follow these tips:
Don’t send or give cash – Not only is this a good idea, but you need a way to record the transaction for tax purposes. If you send a check or money order, there is a way to track where the money went.
Be familiar with the organization – Some scams may use names that sound similar to a reputable charity, such as the National Red Cross (where the real charity is the American Red Cross). Because of this, be sure you know who you are giving money to.
Beware of advertisements and landing pages – Some sideline advertisements, pop up ads and syndicated links may lead unsuspecting users to bogus websites. Again, be wary of these links, especially if they use elaborate, desperate language.
Do not give personal financial information – Simply put, there’s no reason to provide Social Security numbers or checking account information when donating.