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Protecting Yourself from Charity Fraud

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.

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