Among the many types of scams and identity theft gimmicks is the Charity Scam. This is another relatively new type of scam, but one that is fleecing people right and left. This is one that you need to be on the lookout for, especially now that the holidays are near.
Fake charity scams look legitimate. They have legitimate websites and emails so they look real and even imitate other legitimate charities. Some of these identity theft specialists even have ID cards with the charity name and logo. What makes these thieves so good at what they do is that they use several methods to draw in their victims including using non Internet related methods of collecting money, just as a charity would. They set up booths at the local department store, use the phone to solicit charity, and even go door to door. The methods used by these scammers make it difficult to distinguish them from the real charity. However there are a few things you can do to try and protect yourself against the charity scam.
Be Aware of All Aspects of Identity Theft and All Types of Scams
The best way to fight against internet theft and different types of scams including the charity scam is to be aware of the problem. By being aware of the scams you will also be wary and this will protect your interests. Always ask for credentials and for the address and phone number of the charity. You want to ask whether it is registered and get that number. Then call your Better Business Bureau and check the registration. Another great source of information about charities is www.give.org. Call the charity up and ask whether they are indeed soliciting funds, or whether they are having a charity fund that is going on.
Get a Receipt and Don’t Donate Cash
You don’t want to donate cash to the charity; instead you want to offer a check. This way you can be sure that only the registered charity can cash the check. This gives you a record for your tax return, and ensures that there is actually a charity behind the donation drive.
Ask the Right Questions
Don’t just hand over money and walk away. Find out what percentage of the donation actually goes to help the foundation or the people. A real charity will be able to answer this question easily because they are used to having it asked of them.
Careful with Email Requests
You really need to be cautious when it comes to internet requests for donations. These are emails sent out and usually claim to be raising funds for a local charity. To verify this information before sending money you should call the local charity.
When you really know how to protect your identity, then you will have done some planning in advance. You may want to sit down and choose the charities you want to donate to at the beginning of the year. This way you will have already made up your mind and decided where you are going to donate, so when you get asked for donations you can claim that you have already committed to other charities.
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