The holiday season is about giving, and many charities depend on end-of-year donations. However, it pays to be careful about the causes you support because there are scammers out there looking to take advantage of holiday generosity.
Getting the lowdown on scams
It can be tempting to just pull out your credit card and make a donation when you get an email or phone call from a charity, or even see a link on Facebook or another site, but don’t do it. Scammers count on people having a knee-jerk reaction, often making their pitches look and sound as realistic as possible.
Take your time and give some thought to the charity you’re considering donating to. To help consumers do their homework, the Better Business Bureau has teamed up with Western Union to create the BBB Scam Stopper.
The BBB has reviewed over 11,000 charities on their website. There is also information on how to avoid scams and the newest ones to watch out for this season. Consumers can also sign up for scam alerts or review them on the site.
Holiday tips for giving wisely
Giving donations directly to the charity is one of the keys to making sure your money goes to the needy, and not to scammers. Never send money to a person who works for the organization. If someone asks you to do that, it’s a red flag for fraud.
Credit card and banking information can be a goldmine for thieves, so don’t share this information with an organization you’re not sure about. Emails or texts may include links to websites. It’s best to go directly to an organization’s website.
Links embedded in emails can take you to sites designed to harvest your financial information or download malware onto your computer, both of which can put you at risk for fraud.
The Better Business Bureau was founded over 100 years ago. It provides consumers with information on businesses and brands, as well as charities. Consumers can also file complaints with them.