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Security Tip – Charity Scams

Security Tip – Charity Scams

Not all “charities” are the real deal. Unfortunately, scammers steal large amounts of money from generous donors over and over again. This type of scam affected many individuals after the hurricane Katrina disaster when people across the globe rushed to donate in support of relief efforts. When these devasting events happen, scammers will claim domain names that will be used to capture a donor’s attention online. Domains containing words like Katrina, Haiti, earthquake, charity, and relief are purchased to make seemingly legitimate websites for people to donate their money.

How the scam works

You may receive a solicitation from a charity that claims to be collecting donations to help a cause. It could be a postcard in the mail, an email message, a social media post, or even a person going door-to-door. Increasingly, scammers are creating fake social media accounts, and even going so far as impersonate victims of a tragedy or their family members to ask for direct support.

How do you know if the money you are donating will go directly to a legitimate relief fund? 

Reputable charity foundations such as the Red Cross will allow a donor to specify directly where their money will be spent to help contribute to a specific cause. The red Cross uses an international response fund system, which allows a donor to communicate exactly where they want their money to go. By visiting, a donor can select “donate” followed by “donate online” to make an online contribution. Following these steps, a donor can decide on a specific amount they would like to contribute and what fund they would like their donation to assist. In addition, a donor can make a one-time contribution or can sign-up to contribute monthly.

-Stick to charities that you know and trust to make sure your contributions are going to real charities and not scammers pockets.

-Always feel free contact charity agencies and ask them questions about how they will use your money to help their cause. A trustworthy agency will provide you with plenty of information regarding their attempts to aid a specific cause and won’t eagerly persuade you to donate more money.

To report a scam, contact the Better Business Bureau at


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