Beware of Charity and Disaster Fraud
Charity fraud schemes seek donations for organizations that do little or no work—instead, the money goes to the fake charity’s creator.
While these scams can happen anytime, they are especially prevalent after high-profile disasters. Criminals often use tragedies to exploit you and others who want to help.
Charity fraud scams can come in many forms: emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, cold calls, etc. Always use caution and do your research when looking to donate to charitable causes.
The following tips can help you avoid these schemes:
- Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
- Be aware of organizations with copycat names or names similar to reputable organizations.
- Do your research. Use the Federal Trade Commission’s resources (ftc.gov) to examine a charity’s track record.
- Donate using a check or credit card. If a charity or organization asks you to donate through cash, gift card, virtual currency, or wire transfer, it’s probably a scam.
- Check the website’s address—most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.
If you’re a victim of charity or disaster fraud or have information about these types of schemes, you can:
- Contact your state consumer protection office
- Report fraud to the FBI at fbi.gov
- Report online fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- Report suspected disaster-related fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud