The season of giving is just around the corner! In the spirit of giving gifts, you may also choose to donate to a charity. Sadly, scammers know the holidays are a popular time for charity donations and they set up fake charities to take advantage of your generosity. Here are some ways you can avoid charity scams and make sure your donation counts.

  • Found a new charity that’s pulling at your heartstrings? Take some time to research and plan before you donate. Your money is best served in the hands of real people in need, not greedy cyber criminals.
  • When you donate to charities you know and trust, you help those with a proven history of responding to humanitarian efforts.

Research first.

  • If the donation request comes from a social media site, search the name plus another term, such as complaint, review, rating, or scam.
  • Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or Candid.
  • If the message was from a friend, ask them if they know the organization themselves.

Pro tips:

  1. Find out exactly how much of every dollar you donate goes directly to the charity’s beneficiaries.
  2. When considering to donate on crowdfunding sites — like GoFundMe — be very cautious. Some scammers pretend to be concerned citizens collecting for a cause, but their true intentions are to pocket your money.
  3. Be wary of anyone who insists you pay by peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer (like Zelle, Cash App, or Venmo), gift card, wiring money, or cryptocurrency. Scammers often have a complex system of how they collect your money, and they will be insistent that you pay a certain way.

Remember, giving to someone you personally know and trust is the safest way to give this holiday season. If you are concerned that you have been a victim of fraud, call us right away at 1.800.542.3328!