It’s evening, you just sat down for dinner, and the phone rings. It’s a call from a charity asking you to make a holiday season donation for the needy. You want to be generous, but something about this call doesn’t seem quite right. You’re suspicious.
You should be.
“Charity scams” - people pretending to represent a charity in order to get your money or steal your identity - are most common during December.
In fact, according to a study commissioned by a credit card company, 18% of people have been a victim, or know someone who has been a victim, of charity fraud.
While you may want to support legitimate charities during the holiday season, how do you ensure your money is going to a worthy cause, and not into the pocket of a scam artist?
Here are some recommended guidelines:
Be suspicious of high-pressure tactics. Few, if any, legitimate charities will try to “hard sell” you to make a donation.
If you’re solicited by phone or at the door, always ask for the charity’s legal name and registration number.
Ask for a receipt. Check that the charity’s registration number is on it.
Make your payment to the legal name of the charity and no one else. Avoid cash donations.
Look up the charity online, review the website and call to confirm the name and charity registration number.