Be aware of charity scams
By: Roseville Police Department
Have you made a donation to a charity recently? Perhaps you plan to make a donation to start out the new year. Whether you are making a donation now or in the future, be careful. There are criminals waiting to take advantage of your generosity.
Charity scams take many forms:
There has been a lot growth in online scamming over the past years. Many bad-actors are purporting to be charities requesting donations. Even if you receive an email from a recognized and respected charity name, don’t assume the request is really coming from them. Take a close look at the name of the sender. Does it really show an email address pertaining to that charity? Charity emails usually end in “.org”. If not, it could be from a scammer. Don’t click on or open any links on these messages. Doing so may give the sender access to personal information on your computer and in some cases gives the sender control over your computer.
Unsolicited phone calls
Phone scamming continues to increase. It’s estimated over 59 million US residents lost money from a phone scam in 2021. Legitimate charities rarely make random calls for donations. The easy way to avoid scam calls is to just not answer calls if you don’t recognize the caller ID. Most of these calls are automated (Robocalls) and never leave a voicemail.
House calls and street collectors
It’s relatively easy for scammers to go door to door pretending to be collecting for a charity. Some even have fake IDs they show you, knowing that you don’t easily have the capability to check if the ID is valid or not. To help deter door-to-door scammers, post a “No Soliciting” sign on or near your front door. If you are out around town and someone is collecting on the sidewalk, don’t assume they are a legitimate charity. Check them out on your own before giving money or your personal information.
Tips to follow:
- Don’t let any charity rush or pressure you into making a donation, of any kind.
- Look for specifics regarding how your donation will be used.
- Confirm that the charity or organization is legitimate and is a non-profit organization listed with the FTC (www.consumer.ftc.gov/).
- Avoid sweepstakes claiming to exchange winnings for a donation; that’s both a scam and illegal.
Some sites to use to search for legitimate and registered charities or non-profit organizations are:
- BBB Wise Giving Alliance http://www.give.org/
- Charity Navigator http://www.charitynavigator.org/
- CharityWatch http://www.charitywatch.org/
- Guidestar http://www.guidestar.org/
Taking time to ask questions, gather information, and verify an organization’s non-profit status can help make sure that your generous giving will truly go to those that need help. It can also help ensure that your personal information is protected and not compromised by scammers looking for easy targets. If you believe you have been the victim or have had your personal information jeopardized, please contact the Roseville Police Department or file a crime report online.