Beware of fake charity scams

For International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, we are highlighting the rise of fake charities as a means of fraud. Each year, the IRS highlights the most common and nefarious scams for consumers in its “Dirty Dozen,” which for 2021 includes fake charities. Scammers often take advantage of natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, to solicit contributions to fake charities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rise in such scams, as well. Before donating to any charitable organization, be sure to confirm the organization is real, get its exact name, web address, and mailing address, and find out if your donation will be tax-deductible. Charities to which donations are deductible can be found using the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search. After doing your due diligence, the safest way to make a donation is by credit card or check. Be wary of any fundraiser who asks you to donate by wire transfer or by sending gift card codes or who insists you make a donation of cryptocurrency. These are common tactics used by scammers to avoid being tracked. Visit the FTC website for more tips on avoiding fake charity scams, and report suspected fraud to the FTC or your state charity regulator.

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