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How to Avoid Charity Scams

March 8, 2021 by Ashley Stidham

Money lost to fraudulent charities and scammers means less help gets to those in need. With many ongoing events in the U.S. like the storms in Texas and COVID-19, you may come across scammers who take advantage of people wanting to help others in their time of need.

To make sure your charitable contributions actually go to where they’ll do good, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these tips.


  • Avoid any charity or fundraiser that:
    • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity and how the donation will be used
    • Tries to rush you into donating immediately, without giving you time to research
    • Asks for donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money
    • Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution
  • Search the name of the organization online – especially with the word “complaints” or “scam” to get a quick look into the organization’s reputation
  • Don’t provide your credit or debit card number, bank account number, or any personal information until you’ve researched the charity
  • Be careful how you pay – it is always safer to pay by check or credit card
  • Keep a record of your donations and review your bank statements periodically to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to
  • Report scams to the FTC if you were scammed, or if think you saw a scam by visiting reportfraud.ftc.gov

For more information on charity fraud and other scams, visit consumer.ftc.gov.

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