Don’t become a scam victim!
Many people are looking for ways to help in the aftermath of Ian. One way to help is by donating money to charitable organizations. Unfortunately, while many reputable organizations are doing great work, there are also scams. This blog post will provide some advice on how to donate money safely.
Do your research.
Be sure to research the organization you are considering. Check their website and ensure they have a physical address and contact information. You can also look up reviews of the organization online.
The Better Business Bureau Charity Review site is an excellent resource for this purpose. It is also recommended that you consider donating by check or credit card; it’s safer to donate by credit card or check -after you’ve researched the charity.
If you’re donating online, ensure the webpage where you enter your payment information has “HTTPS” in the web address. That means your information is encrypted and transmitted securely.
Before giving to charitable organizations, however, consider the following advice from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is the United States government’s official website for consumer advice.
Since it can be challenging to know how to help in times of crisis, the FTC recommends individuals search online for the charity or effort they seek to support and check out the charity, organization, or effort’s website.
By completing a simple internet search and research, individuals can quickly find a wealth of information. In addition, research can help everyone learn more about the charity or effort and help you make an informed decision about how to best support said efforts.
Additional online resources like the four listed below can help your research.
Check out NASCO’s Online Giving Donor & Consumer Guide to help you guide your search.
In addition, the FTC encourages individuals to visit the State’s Charity Regulator website NASCO to continue the research of the charity of choice. NASCO is the National Association of State Charity Officials, an association of state offices (attorneys general, secretaries of state, and other offices) charged with the regulation and oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitation in the United States.
Lastly, check if the donation will be tax deductible. It never hurts to keep tax deductions for your records. Look up the membership of the organization you’ve selected on the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search. Donors can request donation receipts if they wish to claim charitable donations on their tax refunds.
In times of crisis, scammers look for a weakness to exploit. Therefore, they will try any trick or scheme they can get their hands on to make an easy profit from you.
Additional things to know!
- Know that reputable organizations will not pressure you into donating. So, keep in mind if you feel pressured, that is a red flag. Take your time in deciding, and never give in to pressure.
- Know where your money is going. When you donate, be sure to ask where the money will be going. A reputable organization can tell you exactly where your money will go and how it will be used.
- Know that if an organization is unwilling to tell you where your money is going, that is also a red flag.
Many great organizations do work in times of crisis. If you are considering donating, following this advice will help ensure that your donation goes to a reputable organization and is used in the way you intend.