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WEB EXTRA: Factfinder – Giving Guidelines & Avoiding Charity Scams

After a disaster, people-in-need need donated food, supplies and money. Scammers and fraudsters are counting on that generosity too.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and portions of the Southeast, many people have donated blood, food, supplies, and money. 

People-in-need count on it. But scammers and fraudsters are counting on that generosity too. 

The Better Business Bureau is working to make sure that people who donate are cautious about where they give. The BBB’s website give.org suggests donating directly to a charity, or the charity’s website, not via an email or spam message in your inbox. 

The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking the ratings and reports of charity or relief organizations. 

There are several sites that can help you: 

The BBB also has giving guidelines you need to know about. LEARN MORE HERE.

The FTC posted that charity scams get active after a hurricane.

If you’re thinking about donating, avoid paying with cash, gift card or wiring money.

The FTC also suggests: 

  • Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. That’s something scammers do.
  • Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made.
  • Scammers can change Caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code.
  • Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving.
  • Scammers make lots of vague and sentimental claims but give no specifics about how your donation will be used.
  • Bogus organizations may claim that your donation is tax-deductible when it is not.
  • Guaranteeing sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation is not only a scam, the FTC stated it’s illegal. 

FTC.gov/complaint is the site to report scams.