FTC recommends researching online before donating:
·Looking for a charity to support? Search for a cause you care about – like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” – and phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.”
·When you consider giving to a specific charity, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”
·Use these organizations to help you research charities.
·Donating by cryptocurrency? Watch for scammers who want to take your donation. Learn more at ftc.gov/cryptocurrency.
FTC says to be careful how you pay:
·If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay.
·To be safer, pay by credit card or check.
·It’s a good practice to keep a record of all donations. And review your statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate – and that you’re not signed up to make a recurring donation.
·Before clicking on a link to donate online, make sure you know who is receiving your donation. Read Donating Through Crowdfunding, Social Media, and Fundraising Platforms for more information.
Lastly, the FTC says to keep scammers' tricks in mind:
·Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. That’s something scammers do.
·Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made.
·Scammers can change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code.
·Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving.
·Scammers make lots of vague and sentimental claims but give no specifics about how your donation will be used.
·Bogus organizations may claim that your donation is tax-deductible when it is not.
·Guaranteeing sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation is not only a scam, it’s illegal.