Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating warm clothes and money to the Salvation Army, many Americans are doing their part and helping those in need. Unfortunately, there are also those who are eager to scam innocent people out of their money. Unfortunately, disaster money scams are common after hurricanes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters, but are even more common during the holidays. The Federal Trade Commission reports that in recent years they have received more and more complaints about charity scams. In fact, there has been an 82 percent increase in fraudulent charity reports so please beware of disaster money scams.
Fraud Avengers lists numerous ways scam artists may be scheming for your money including making collection calls to your home “on behalf of a reputable charity.” Nowadays, the scam artists are using other methods such as clogging your Inbox with phishing emails, pretending to be sound charities or even using social media websites such as Facebook.
Want to know how to outsmart the disaster money scams or holiday con artists? Consider the four Mindful tips listed below
- Validate before you donate. First, check the validity of the charity you’re about to donate to. You can gather information from local newspapers, the Better Business Bureau or the office of a local charity registry.
- Proceed with caution. Don’t be fooled by look-a-like charities with similar names or similar websites. There is no harm is asking more questions and doing more research before you donate just to be sure.
- How you donate counts. Be careful of how you give your money. Instead of giving cash be sure to give a check made out to the donation not the “representative.” Also, beware of who you give your credit card information too.
- Ask for a receipt. Always remember to ask for a receipt for tax-deductible purposes. Also, do not get confused with the tax lingo. If a charity says that they are tax “exempt” it means that they do not have to pay taxes, tax “deductible” means you may deduct your contributions from your taxes.
What are your tips for donating and avoiding charity scams during the holidays? Let us know in comments below.