Monson Savings Bank Brings Awareness to Charity Scams
The season of giving is officially here! With the holidays right around the corner, lots of us will not only be giving gifts to our loved ones, but also making donations to those in need. Many charitable organizations see an uptick in donations during the month of December. Sadly, there are scammers who consider this “the season of taking” instead of giving.
Charity fraud is unfortunately happening at all times of the year, but it is especially prevalent during the holiday season. In a charity scam, someone will appear to be seeking donations for a good cause, however the money collected will only benefit them or the creator of the scam. Fraudsters are taking advantage of generous people who are trying to provide help to those in need with charity scams.
One of the best ways to steer clear of a charity scam is knowing what to look for. Monson Savings Bank is bringing awareness to the red flags that often accompany charity fraud with the hope of keeping you from becoming a victim, and making sure your donations get to those in need.
Charity Scam Red Flags
Cash, gift cards, and money wire
If your only options to donate to a charity are via cash, gift cards, or a money wire, the organization might be illegitimate. These are common ways that scammers will ask you to pay because they can be hard to trace. It is best practice to donate using a credit card online or by writing a check and keeping a record of all the donations you have made.
Scam artists will use names that sound like real organizations hoping you will not notice. Always be vigilant and do your research to make sure you are contributing to a legitimate organization.
Receiving a “thank you” for a donation you never made
It is important to keep track of all of the organizations you donate to. One way that fraudsters can trick you into donating to their bogus charity is by thanking you for a donation you never made. If you receive a card, letter, e-mail, phone call, or text message from someone thanking you for your donation, and asking you to donate again, make sure you really did donate to this charity in the past. Sometimes we can be quick to donate again if we think that we did previously.
Being pressured to donate
A common tactic in many different scams is pressuring or rushing someone to pay. If someone is putting pressure on you or rushing you to make a donation, think twice before you give them your money. In this case, it might be best to step away and do some research on the organization before making a contribution.
You’ve never heard of the charitable organization
If you are thinking of donating to an organization you have never heard of, consider doing some research first. Using organizations who conduct reports and ratings on charities, like the ones below, can give insight into the legitimacy of a charity and how they operate.
If you suspect that you are being contacted by someone involved in a charity scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) here: www.reportfraud.ftc.gov
The best way to protect yourself from falling for a charity scam, or any type of scam, is knowing what to look out for. Monson Savings Bank is dedicated to sharing information on various scams and strives to help keep our customers and community members safe. For more information, visit our Safety and Security Blog.