With The Global Pandemic & The Age of Digital Media Comes an Increase in Online Charity Scams

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When calamity comes, the human spirit remains unshaken. Millions of people kindly donate money online as friends and colleagues combine their resources to help a good cause. Because of the Internet’s capabilities, activities such as crowdfunding and other relief-driven programs have a greater platform to promote awareness and reach a global audience. Online social networking tools, in particular, have played a significant role in mobilizing support for specific causes. For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign, which raised awareness of the disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), prompted large donations to research as it spread over social media. It was stated that the ALS Association collected $41.8 million during the challenge’s popularity.

While such humanitarian activities are beneficial to the intended recipients, the potential for good cannot compensate for the instances of abuse that do occur on occasion. Many scammers, as witnessed in prior situations, take advantage of altruistic gestures performed online and employ social engineering lures to deceive others into contributing money to perpetrators. Scammers have traditionally relied on people’s good intentions to deceive them into donating money to a bogus charity. For example, as a result of the Ukraine situation, a number of charity frauds have emerged, frequently claiming to be seeking money for humanitarian help. You can avoid being a victim of a false charity scam by asking the correct questions when an organization or individual requests donations and recognizing some of the tell-tale signals of this common fraud.

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Scammers Make Use of Emotions to Exploit Us 

False charities attempt to exploit your generosity and compassion for those in need. Scammers will take your money by impersonating a legitimate organization. These scams not only cost you a lot, but they also redirect much-needed donations away from real charities and causes. Scam charities prey on your generosity and goodwill. Scammers may pose as representatives of a real charity. They’ll contact, email, or approach you on the street to ask for donations. When you give, your money is likely to end up in the wallets of the scammers rather than the charity you intended to help. Other con artists will invent their own charity names. They may even put up bogus websites that appear to be sponsored by actual charitable groups. Again, the idea is to get you to donate to them rather than to a legitimate organization. Because so many individuals desire to assist reputable charities, fake charity scams can be lucrative. Giving USA reports that Americans donated a record $471 billion to charities in 2020. That’s a lot of generosity, which makes charity scams particularly appealing to con artists.

Online Charity Scams to Watch Out For

Fake charity approaches occur throughout the year and frequently take the shape of a response to real catastrophes or emergencies, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, and bushfires. Scammers will either act as agents for legitimate, well-known charities or develop their own charity identity. This can include charities that do medical research or aid disease patients and their families. They may even masquerade as people in need of donations for medical or other reasons. Scammers may even prey on your emotions by claiming to aid sick youngsters. False charities operate in a variety of ways. Money collectors may approach you on the street or at your front door. Scammers may even create bogus websites that appear to be run by a legitimate charity. Some con artists will contact or email you and ask for a donation.

Here is a list of online charity scams that have occurred in the past and that you need to be aware of: 

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Phishing charities 

Fraudsters pretend to be from a respectable organization and offer information that can help a local charity, such as a list of needy people in the region who may need assistance. The victim is asked to access the material by clicking on a link. This usually leads to a bogus website or requests payment in cryptocurrencies (such as bitcoin). 

Mandate forgery

A charity employee working from home, for example, may receive an email that appears to be from a real organization offering services to the charity. The email suggests that future payments be made to the fraudster’s alternate bank account.

Fraud in procurement

This could include selling crucial personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves online to a charity or public health organization. Following payment, no materials are provided, or the products do not match the needed specifications — the State of New York was a recent victim of a PPE scam. Scammers act as bogus charities or impersonate nonprofits to seek false donations. They frequently use a name that sounds similar to a legitimate and well-known organization. Scammers masquerade as a person infected with the coronavirus or claim to be operating on behalf of a friend or relative in need of financial assistance. The individual will claim to be in a problem as a result of the catastrophe. For example, they may claim to be unwell or trapped in another nation and request that you send them money. They frequently claim urgency and the necessity for concealment.

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Scams involving testing, vaccines, and treatments

Scammers provide phony home test kits and “miracle” remedies or vaccines that do not exist. They may also try to steal personal information from Medicare recipients by offering Covid-19 testing.

Checks from the government: Scammers pretend to be from the IRS or another government agency and ask for personal information, try to charge you a fee for receiving your stimulus check, or give you the means to get the money sooner.

FDIC and banking

Fraudsters pose as representatives of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank, claiming that your bank account or ability to obtain the cash is in jeopardy and requesting personal information.

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    Ways to Avoid Falling Prey To Charity Scams

    There is a lot of pressure to donate right now on the spot. It is most likely to be a scam. A recognized charity will accept your donation whenever you wish. A thank you note for a donation you don’t remember making. Making you believe you’ve already donated to the cause is a popular tactic used by unscrupulous fundraisers to reduce your resistance.

    A request for cash, gift card, or wire transfer payment

    Scammers like these payment methods because the money is difficult to trace. Before donating, check how watchdogs like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance assess an organization and contact your state’s charity regulator to ensure that the organization is registered to raise funds there. Conduct your own web research. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests searching for the name of a charity or a cause you want to use terms like “highly rated charity,” “complaints,” and “scam.”

    Take note of the charity’s name and online site

    To deceive donors, scammers frequently imitate the identities of well-known and trusted organizations. Inquire about how much of your money is used for overhead and fundraising. Wise Giving Alliance recommends that at least 65 percent of a charity’s total expenses go directly to serving its objective. Keep track of your donations and monitor your credit card account on a frequent basis to ensure you weren’t charged more than you agreed to donate or inadvertently signed up for a recurring gift.

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    Don’ts

    1. Don’t provide your personal or financial information, such as your Ssn, birth date, or bank account details, to anyone requesting a gift. Scammers use this data to steal money and people’s identities
    2. Don’t make cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer donations. Credit cards and checks are more secure.
    3. Clicking on links in an unsolicited email, Facebook, or Twitter fundraising campaigns can expose you to a virus.
    4. Don’t text a donation without first verifying the number on the charity’s official website.
    5. Don’t believe calls for help on social media or crowdsourcing sites like GoFundMe, especially in the aftermath of a calamity. The FTC cautions that scammers are using actual victims’ tales and photos to defraud people.
    6. Verify the organization — Before donating to a charity, always double-check the organization’s credibility by contacting trustworthy sources.
    7. Know how your gifts will be used – while it may seem obvious where your money should go, it is still beneficial to understand the charity’s donation procedure and timing. A real relief group should be able to disclose full account details.
    8. Be aware of social media campaigns and pleas – social networking sites are great platforms for gaining attention. As a result, it is simple for scammers to create fraudulent profiles in order to entice people. Before donating anything, always search for suspicious facts and contradictions.
    9. Make sure your donations are routed through a secure website — online transactions are always vulnerable to interception by hackers and identity thieves. Checking the URL is one technique to guarantee that you’re buying on a secure website. HTTPS implies that sensitive information, such as payment card numbers and usernames, is encrypted before being delivered to the server.
    10. Attachments should be handled with caution – avoid opening suspicious attachments or clicking on dodgy links. Look for grammatical flaws, spelling mistakes, weird assertions, and absurd titles. They could include dangerous codes.
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    Common Examples of Charity Scams 

    When you decide to donate to a worthy cause, you want your contribution to be recognized. Doing research and planning ahead of time will help ensure that your donations go where they can make a difference. Here are some pointers to help you organize your gift while avoiding scammers.

    • Don’t provide money in cash, gift cards, or wire transfers to anyone. Scammers will ask you to pay in this manner.
    • Pay by credit card or cheque for added security. It’s a good idea to keep track of all donations. Also, carefully examine your accounts to ensure that you are only charged for the amount you agreed to pay – and that you have not chosen to make a recurring donation.
    • Don’t let anyone pressure you into donating. That’s what con artists do. Some con artists attempt to dupe you into paying them by thanking you for a donation you never made. Scammers can alter the caller ID to make a call appear to be from a local area code. Some scammers employ names that sound similar to those of legitimate charities. This is one of the reasons it is important to do some research before gifting.

    Scammers make numerous vague and emotive claims but provide no details regarding how your donation will be used. False organizations may claim that your contribution is tax-deductible when in fact, it is not. Guaranteeing sweepstakes prizes in exchange for a donation is not only a scam, but it is also prohibited. If you notice any red flags or are unsure how a charity will use your money, consider donating to a different organization. There are numerous great organizations that will put your money to good use.

    If you are a victim of a cryptocurrency scam and need help in getting your money back then please reach out to us to help you!

    CFD Trading Scams

    Key Takeaways! 

    Reporting charity fraud assists in warning people about current scams and allows relevant organizations to monitor trends and disrupt scams. Include specifics about the hoax contact you got, such as an email or screenshot. Consider utilizing an anti-malware solution to help protect yourself from potential attacks. Perform due diligence if you are purchasing something for your charity from a firm or person you do not know. If you are doubtful, consult with your coworkers. Be wary if you are asked to update your bank account information or make payments to a new account. Follow your charity’s validation procedures wherever possible, and double-check the veracity of such messages before making any donations or making any banking changes.

    In cases when an advance fee payment is necessary, question unsolicited offers of goods or other financial assistance. Do not feel compelled to make a decision that would harm your charity or its recipients. Believe in your intuition. If anything does not feel right, ignore it. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While charity fraud and scams do exist, it is critical to maintain vigilance. During a crisis, though, you should not be discouraged from donating to legitimately worthy causes. This is due to the important work that charities perform in assisting people in most need. Just be sure you’re donating to legitimate groups rather than scammers looking to exploit the situation.

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      We do understand that you’ve already been scammed online and that you’re naturally afraid of paying online. This is why we do offer a free case review, and won’t charge anything if your case isn’t qualified. Please do your part of the deal, and submit your case only if you truly intend to proceed with the recovery process.


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