In the wake of Hurricane Dorian that swept through the Bahamas and future hurricanes to come you may feel inclined to donate to those in need. When you decide to support a cause you care about you want your donation to count. Researching and planning your donations can help ensure your money will go to a place where it will make a difference.
Do some research online - When you consider giving to a charity search its name plus one of the following keywords - complaint, review, rating, or scam. This will help weed out the websites that have the potential to scam someone. If negative results come up from the searches this will show you they are not the best charity to donate to. Use caution and avoid them.
Be careful how you pay - If a charity wants donations in cash, gift cards, or by wiring money - don’t do it. This is how scammers will ask you to pay. It is safer to pay with a credit card or check. Keep records of your donations so you can view them if needed. Review your monthly statements and make sure you are only charged the amount you chose to donate. Also, make sure there are no recurring donations unless you signed up for them. This can be a way for scammers to get more of your money. Before clicking a link to donate online, be sure it’s not a scam.
Keep scammers’ tricks in mind - Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you have never made which can make you think you need to pay. Scammers can also change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code and use names that sound like the names of real charities. This is another reason it pays to do some before giving. Fake organizations may claim that your donation is tax-deductible when it is not.
If you see any of these red flags or if you’re unsure how a charity will use your donation consider giving elsewhere. There are many worthy organizations and charities that will use your donation wisely.