When you give money to charity this holiday, the last thing you want is to be scammed.
Unfortunately, elaborate charity schemes kick into high gear at the end of the year, preying on your festive generosity. They’ll ask you to give to fake charities, or they might imitate legitimate organizations to convince you to donate.
Like any other scam, these festive frauds aim to steal your money first and foremost. However, charitable crooks also want to nab the information you share with your donation.
Contact and financial data give scam artists what they need to hack your accounts, go on spending sprees with your credit cards, and open cash advances in your name.
The holidays are busy enough and financially tough enough without adding theft and fraud on top of it. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself. Learn what charity fraud looks like so you can sidestep a scam and continue celebrating as normal.
How to Protect Yourself Against Charity Fraud?
These simple tips below can help you avoid fraudulent charities. This way, you can focus your generosity on genuine causes that need your help.
- Be wary of any canvasser who pressures or guilts you into giving. Trust your gut during these interactions.
- If something is off, take a step back. Remember, you don’t have to make any decisions right away; you can take some time to research the charity before you donate. You can approach the charity after it passes your tests.
- Always double-check the charity has a legitimate address and tax registration number and that these numbers are the same online as on any physical brochure or pamphlet.
- Read over online reviews for the organization.
- Look up the charity in Charity Intelligence to see how they score.
- Don’t share your bank account or credit card number over the phone unless you make the call.
- Make donations using your credit card when possible, as your purchase protection insurance may cover fraud.
- Never pay with money transfers, personal loans, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.
- Always ask for a receipt for your donation.
Be on the Look Out for Other Financial Fraud
Charity fraudsters aim to exploit your big heart over the holidays, but they aren’t the only scam artists grifting this season.
Financial phishing scams also increase at the end of the year. This involves fraudsters pretending to be a reputable bank or online lender you trust. They send you urgent emails under the guise of these trusted brands, asking you to do one of the following things:
- Confirm personal information, including account numbers, login credentials, or social insurance numbers.
- Click a link that takes you to a fraudulent site.
- Send them a gift card as payment for an outstanding personal loan bill.
To be clear, you should never do any of the actions listed above.
If you take out an emergency loan in Canada, be wary of your inbox. Legitimate online lenders in Canada will contact you via email, but they’ll do so in a safe way. They will encourage you to log into a dedicated website or app, as they can guarantee cybersecurity on these platforms.
Always hover over the links that send you to these login pages, making sure they align with your bank or online lender’s usual URL. You should also pay attention to the sender. They should come from the official corporate domain name — not Gmail, Outlook, or AOL.
You don’t have to give up on your desire to do good this season; just be more cautious about sharing the wealth. These tips shared here today can help you avoid charity and financial fraud all holiday long.