Charity Scams

As the title suggests, there are people in this world that will scam others out of their hard-earned money using the guise of being a charity.  When a tragedy happens we hate to see people suffer and we open up our wallets to those in need.  But we cannot always be sure of where that money goes.  There are people that will take the money and disappear, while others will continue to use smoke and mirrors and be greedy.  In fact, one charity scam was recently busted for stealing over $500,000.

Here are some tips on avoiding charity scams, and ensuring that you will be giving to a reputable charity:

Do you recognize the charity?  A lot of reputable charities have well known names. You can easily search them out and make sure that they are reputable.  Charities with names you do not recognize should also be searched, and with a much more keen eye.

We tend to donate right after a disaster.  Knowing the charity and being aware of their efforts is a great way to ensure that there will not be problems.  As scary as it may sound, you may want to identify a charity which you trust prior to a disaster to ensure that your money will not be misappropriated.

Are they a 501(c)3?  This tax designation is only given to registered non-profits.  If the charity is a registered 501(c)3, it is usually a good indication that they can be trusted.  However, use common sense, and double check their credentials.  Especially if you have never heard of them.

Do not give cash to random people on the street.  If you want to give money to a reputable charity, they will have a way for you to donate either online, or with a mailing address.

When disaster strikes, our heart immediately pulls on our purse strings and we want to give to those in need.  But we have to be careful, and know where our money is going.  Giving to liars and cheaters does not help those in need.

For more information on reputable charities, you can check out http://www.ReliefOversight.org

As always, be smart and use common sense.  Doing so will not just help you, but it will help those in need.

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