Something that’s always smart to do with money is to never make big decisions when you are feeling emotional. When you are feeling very emotional, you’re not looking out for your long-term best interest. It’s why you don’t buy a new car moments after you get a pay raise. It’s why you don’t quit your job moments after the boss says you did something wrong. Just by waiting until a few days after Patriot Day, you will avoid most of the Patriot Day-related scams. But some scams linger. And so may your feelings. The following post outlines how a person can dodge scams and instead give money to worthy charities.
Charity Scam Red Flags
Several signs can clue you in that a charitable solicitation isn’t legitimate. Usually scammers want to make a quick buck. That means they’re sloppy. They don’t have time to make a really convincing plea for your money. Look for these signals:
If you feel pressure to donate immediately, especially from someone on the phone – don’t do it. Scammers don’t want you to have the time you need to discover they aren’t on the up and up. Callers should be able to give you the name, phone number and address of the organization, which you should be able to verify online. If you get a fishy feeling, avoid that charity! Quality charities will never make you feel leery – they will make you feel good!
Social Media Links
Social media may have links to charities, but those links can take you to spoof sites. Do an independent search for the charities and fund raisers you read about and give through official websites only. Good charities will have secure websites as well as a number you can call to donate that way. Look for HTTPS in the URL and look for a phone number.
How to Check on a Charity
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) runs the Wise Giving Alliance, an organization that helps you identify unscrupulous solicitations and verify legitimate charitable organizations. Organizations must meet specific standards before they can be approved, such as:
- Adequate Governance and Oversight
- Measurable Effectiveness
- At Least 65 Percent of Donations Go Directly to Charitable Activities
- Funds Are Not Accumulated, but Used for Charitable Activities
- Financial Transparency
- Accurate and Truthful Informational Materials
Because of these standards, using the Wise Giving Alliance to vet charities can help you choose a charity that will use your donation to do the greatest good. You can look into a charity by visiting give.org and searching for the charity in question.
Don’t get scammed this Patriot Day. If you do come across a scam, please report it to the BBB and leave us a comment below. We will add specific Patriot Day scams to this post. Thank you.