Holiday Scams & Charities
By: Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer, Roseville Police Department
One great aspect of 2020 that has not changed is our willingness and eagerness to help others. However, the 2020 holiday season and end-of-year activities present very unique and new types of scams. Many of us use the holiday season as a time of giving to others, not just family and friends, but strangers too. Unfortunately, early as February 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned that fraudsters would likely be using the coronavirus (COVID19) as a means to scam and trick people.
As the year winds down, some charities are reaching out to previous and new donors to provide opportunities for last minute donation opportunities. Here are some COVID19 scam types to be leery of:
- Fake charities – scammers try to solicit funds by posing as a fake charity with a name that sounds similar to a well-known charity.
- Person-in-need scams – scammers may pose as a person, or family member of someone, affected by COVID19 to try and solicit money.
- Testing, vaccine, and treatment scams – scammers may try to offer fake test kits or access to vaccines that do not exist.
- Checks from the government scam – scammers may claim to be from the IRS and ask for personal information or charge fake fees to help you get stimulus money or get more stimulus money.
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
- Charity Navigator
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.