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Fall Security Insights – Charity Scams


A charity scam is when a thief poses as a real charity or makes up the name of a charity that sounds real in order to get money from you. These kinds of scams often increase during the holiday season as well as around natural disasters and emergencies, such as storms, wildfires, or earthquakes. Be careful when any charity calls to ask for donations, especially ones that suggest they’re following up on a donation pledge you don’t remember making.

What to do: Ask for detailed information about the charity, including address and phone number. Look up the charity through their website or a trusted third-party source to confirm that the charity is real.

Protecting your money is always a big deal. But keeping an eye on your wallet and everything in it becomes even more important during the holiday season when many people are buying gifts and giving generously to those who are less fortunate. Charity scams often pop up during this time of year as scammers attempt to take advantage of the holiday spirit.

Tips to protect your money from fraudsters who come up with bogus charities this holiday season.

  • Be aware that scammers may be targeting you. If you receive a call or email asking for payment on a donation pledge you don’t remember making, hang up the phone. Don’t just give out your credit card number.
  • Do your research. Before you donate to a charity that called you for money, check on the charity by contacting an entity that provides information about charities such as guidestar.org, give.org or charitynavigator.org. You may also call or visit your local Better Business Bureau to make sure the charity is real.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t contribute.
  • If you believe a crime has occurred, report it to law enforcement’s non-emergency number. If you suspect that someone is a victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, report it to Adult Protective Services (APS). Find your local APS at eldercare.gov. If you think the person’s safety may be at risk, call 911.
  • You can also report charity scams and financial abuse to your state attorney general.
  • Report suspected charity scams to the Federal Trade Commission.

Improve your financial health by regularly visiting the APCI Federal Credit Union Financial Resource Center.

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