Charity scammers deceive the public by making the people believe they are giving donations to a charity. Many times groups of people or a person will request donations to a non-existent charitable cause. Charity fraud may include phantom charities and the use of deceitful business acts. Scammers may use business to deceive people to give, but the money does not go for the intended purpose.
What is a Charity scam in my words? It is lazy people lying to the public to get you to give money to support themselves. It is the act of deceitful people taking much-needed funds from the community for personal gain.
On one of my websites, I use to have a chat box. This particular website is an inspiration and personal growth site. So, to the scammer, it may appear as the perfect place for someone to attempt an emotional scam.
In the middle of the night, (which usually means the person sending the message is in a foreign country), I received a message. The person had a partial face photo of a child. I have to say I was excited that someone was using this message box on my site. I did not see this coming but caught on quickly.
I blocked and reported the person before I took a screenshot so I will remember the conversation the best I can. I will refer to the person like George.
The conversation went like this;
George: “I need your help. My mom is sick, and I need your help.”
Me: “ What kind of help do you need?”
George: “She has cancer and my little sister, and I don’t have any way to pay for her hospital bills.”
Me: “I don’t give financial help on messenger.”
George: “I need you to set up a GoFundMe account for people to give money to help us.”
Me: “No, I am not going to help you set up an account.”
George: “You mean, you are just going to let me and my sister suffer while my mom dies of cancer, and you won’t help us.”
Me: “I guess that is what I am going to do.”
Now by the end of this conversation, I figured out it was a charity scam, and he was attempting to manipulate me. I don’t like manipulation, so I was not pleasant.
After the last statement from me, I blocked and reported him. But what he wanted to accomplish was to play on my emotions and make me feel bad for not helping his dying mom. The money I am sure would not go to anyone other than himself, and I doubt anyone had cancer.
So what is a charity scam well it is this guy named George manipulating the public for personal gain and not to help his mom. It is George lying to you and me to get money.
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Types of charity scams
People make up a charity and try to get you to give to it. They may go door to door and put the pressure on so you don’t have time to check to see if the charity is legit. Usually, they will want cash, so you pull out $10 or $20 to donate. Money like this can add up to a large sum if this person visits enough houses.
Charity look alike
People will use a reputable charity like Cancer charity fund. When I looked up cancer charities, I found over 53 listed with different names like Blood cancer research foundation, Breast cancer in young women or Children’s brain cancer foundation. A scammer could easily make up a name for any cancer charity and make you believe it is a real foundation.
On the street
How often do you see what you think to be a homeless person needing money? Scammers will pose as a homeless person to get donations. Or attempt to sell CD’s without anything on them and believe you are donating to a charitable cause in exchange for the blank CD of a musician.
Impersonate real charities
Some scammers will make a call to you saying they are a charitable group and use the name of an actual charity. They insist you give money now over the phone with a credit card because the money is needed so badly. If you do this the scammer now has your money and credit card information.
A person sets up a GoFundMe account and says it is for a specific cause, usually to help with medical bills, but when the money comes in the medical bills are not paid. The scammers often use disaster areas where emotions are high from recent devastation and loss of lives to perform their deceit.
Signs of a charity scam
- The person threatens you or manipulates you.
- The scammer gives a sob story to play on your emotions.
- Requesting you to wire money or provide your credit card information. Wired cash is not traceable
- They try to rush you into giving now, so you do not have time to check to see if the charity is registered.
- They can not give you specific information about where the donation will go.
How to avoid becoming the scammed
- Never give information on the phone, request information to be sent by mail to check the legitimacy of the charity.
- Do not get sucked into an emotional story. If what you are hearing is moving, and you do not know the person take a step back to re-evaluate the situation without the emotion involved.
- Do not think that a local number may be a real firefighter or police charity. Scammers can change the caller ID to look local.
- Never give money if the person is pressuring you to give now
- Make a list of charities, research each one, and choose your favorite. When you give, please do so directly to that organization.
- If you are giving to a GoFundMe account make sure you know the person receiving the money
Always check with The Better Business Bureau Wise (BBB) Giving Alliance to see if the charity is registered and where their money goes. Call 703-276-0100 or go to Give.org.
Reputable charities will appreciate the wait rather than losing the financial gift to a scammer.
I have listed three other organizations you can check online to see if a charity is legit and where they spend their donations.
In conclusion of what is a charity scam
The saddest part about a charity scam is the people who need the financial help of a charity may not be getting it. The scammers are taking the money instead. The rising number of scammers is causing the general public to be suspicious of ever giving money to a good cause.
Know the signs and how to prevent the mistake of giving to the wrong people. And report it immediately if you know you gave to a scammer.
Please be careful and think before you give. Charities need your gifts, but it is vital that the money you give is going to those in need. Please continue to give to charities but do so responsibly and be informed. Protect yourself and the people who desperately need your finances for research and assistance.
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Please be aware of another dangerous scam: Personal Loan Scams-Be Aware
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