But you do need to be careful of where your money is going and to whom you are donating. Spammers are wise in taking every opportunity they can to cash in when they hear of a new disaster.
They can quickly set up phoney websites or links and make them totally credible looking, so the average reader is easily sucked into clicking.
How to Protect Yourself from Donation Scams
- Only donate to those organizations you fully trust and only when you are initiating the contact. Don’t just click a familiar link; go directly to the site you want to support.
- Never promise or give over the phone, unless you have initiated that call.
- Never give your credit card information; chose rather to send them a cheque.
- When someone comes to the door, ask questions about their request and if you don’t recognize the cause, firm or person making the request, don’t give. Actually, in large cities, it’s best not to answer the door. Choose instead to support your preferred charity by mail.
- It’s unfortunate but many donations intended for international relief sometimes can take years to be dispersed by governments or organizations, due to cross-border red tape. Chose instead an organization that has a far-reaching mission of disaster relief, such as the Red Cross, so your money will just go into the main fund to help when disaster strikes – anywhere. Your donation though not designated for a particular country, will still help others instead of being tied up indefinitely by the powers that be.
- Understand that there are no age limits to fraudsters. They can appear to be a local high school group with a justifiable cause. When they come knocking, question the cause or ask for them to leave you a pamphlet or head office contact number so you can learn more about the cause, to better support it. If they cannot do either – chances are – you’ve just saved your money from being scooped.
Protect yourself and your money. There are many legitimate donation links out there, but for every trusted link, there are hundreds of scam artists just waiting with open hand.
How unfortunate that our world has changed so much and we have to be so suspicious of donation requests. There are many legitimate causes, but just make sure your money is going where you really want it to. Or, chose to support only local causes that you fully trust and know.