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Don’t give to a charity imposter

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When you give to a charity, you’re giving because you care and want to help — and you want to be sure your money actually gets to those you’re trying to help. But scammers who pretend to be a charity try to get to your wallet. So consider these tips before you give:

  • Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash, pay with a gift card, or wire money.
  • Confirm the exact name of the charity and do some research, especially when donating for the first time. Search for the name of the charity online — plus the word “complaint” or “scam.” That’s one way to learn about a charity’s reputation.
  • Give to charities you know and trust, with a proven track record. Before you give to any charity, check them out with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Be wary of charities that seem to pop up overnight in connection with a natural disaster or other tragedy.  
  • Don’t assume that pleas for help on crowdfunding sites or social media are legitimate. Real victims’ pictures and stories can easily be misused to con you.
  • Before you text to donate, confirm the number on the charity’s website.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in e-mails, even if they appear to be from a charity. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer or be taken to a look-alike website run by scammers.  

For more information, visit If you think you’ve spotted a charity scam, tell us at

Updated on December 15, 2017 to replace “avoid” with “be wary of” in the fourth bullet.

Tagged with: charity, imposter, scam
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Money & Credit


My phone is loaded. Please help. 3 yrs later

what do you mean?

I live home alone and no car. I don't donate $$ to any charity.

How I am making it to get my visa card

I get many robots calls from "Police or Veterans" charities. When I ask the percentage of my gift that will be sent to the charity I usually get "We give 10% to the Police". I ask what happens to the other 90&. "OH, thats to pay for fund raising". I then hang up, if they haven't done so.

I once got one from a "Police charity." When I asked what % actually went to the police, he said in a very upbeat tone, "As much as 2%." I was laughing as I hung up.

I donate ONLY to established charities that I'm familiar with. I NEVER respond to phone appeals. I don't bother to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers!

Been a few years since I last checked, but back then the #1 charity for the least amount of overhead with the most amount of donation going directly to the cause was The Salvation Army.

Use Objective, independent, reliable.

My wife and I receive many phone calls from worthy sounding charities. Usually, we ask for something to be mailed to us and those that actually follow through with mail, we start trying to see if they are legit. Many turn out to be in the 90% fundraising expense category, to which we do not respond. Some of the seemingly most worthy on the telephone turnout to be hopeless parasites.

I usually do not answer these calls. But, on the occasion that I do, I tell them, "I do not give to solicitors on the phone. If they want a donation they should mail their info to me and after I check it out I may donate." If they just keep talking I hang up.

I will NEVER contribute/donate with my credit card!

There is no need to make charity donations online. Why send your money into cyber space? If you are looking to donate to a legitimate worthy cause, you only need to look as far as your own hometown. Surely there is a Church/Temple, Library, Food Bank, Hospital or Volunteer Fire Dept. that would welcome your gift. You can donate in person and they'll even give you a receipt!

Once you give a donation ( I give small amounts to 3 charities) EVERY month another request comes in the mail, FOREVER. Sometimes I get the next request before my 1st check is cashed.

I had the same scenario as your in past several months. I don't answer any unfamiliar phone call now.

My post wasn't posted??????

Legitimate charities solicit donations through the mail, usually with a reply card and addressed envelope. Stick with these charities.

We ALWAYS screen. Our answering machine is polite - it always says 'please' leave a msg. We usually get a series of beeps. Say, where can we get one of those beep thingies?

Never donate to the Clinton foundation, it's a total SCAM.

I get a call for money and they start talking and I interrupt them and ask for their 'home phone number' so I can call THEM and interrupt their supper! They hang up after that!

Not a charity, but I get emails from "Yahoo" warning me to update my account ... I use those to update my trash

I don;t donate to a legal charity if they give less than 80 percent to the charity. Some legits only give a small percentage to the charity. Some of money goes to overhead.

Thank you for your advice..

I probably get calls from charities but I never answer calls from numbers I don't know! And I do get a lot of mail from charities but I can't give to all these charities so I either don't answer them or send their mail back to them with a note to remove my name from their mailing list! Some remove my name, others don't! There should be a law to stop all junk mail, especially charities!

Free if you use a landline, go to Worked for me for years. Free on landline. Subscription for mobile.

Last fall I fell like a fool with a case of these, a "non-profit organization" was asking for money to offer help for those affected by the strong fires that occurred in Portugal in the summer, I foolish without confirming anything of that organization donated money, then I learned through a friend that this organization was a front for swindling people, that it was based in France and was run by a certain Philippe Ballesio, who fled, the rage of all this is that the money did not reach the victims of the fires.

im having a scammer using Trace Adkins as his profile on a site, wanting me to donate to a kids corral charity... the typing he uses is far beyond spell check and hes wanting me to text his 629 area code and says when i donate he wants to make me happy with free tickets to his concert ....

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