Beware Charity Scams

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  • Here’s how they work: Someone calls you asking for a donation to their charity. The charity sounds like a group you’ve heard of and you want to help. How can you tell whether the charity is legitimate?

  • Here’s what you can do:

    • Listen/look for red flags. Scammers want your money quickly and often refuse to send you information about the charity or tell you how your donation will be used. They might even thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making. Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash or wire money. Beware of popular online giving sites such as

    • Take your time. Tell callers to send information by mail. Regardless of the means by which the charity contacts you, research the charity. Ask important questions, such as: What percentage of your donation goes to administration? What is your mission/cause?

    • Check out the charity’s rating on Charity Navigator ( or 201.818.1288), a non-profit organization that has evaluations of over 8,000 charities.

Report that Scam

Federal Trade Commission

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Postal Inspection Service