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Tips to Avoid Charity Scams

December 17, 2019 by Sherri Kelley

Money lost to fraudulent charities and scammers means less help gets to those in need.

To help make certain your charitable contributions get where they’ll do good, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these tips.


  • Do not provide your credit or debit card number, bank account number, or any personal information until you’ve researched the charity.
  • Searching the name of the organization online – especially with the word “complaints” or “scam” — is one way to learn about its reputation.
  • Avoid any charity or fundraiser that:
    • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity and how the donation will be used
    • Tries to rush you into donating immediately, without giving you time to research
    • Asks for donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money
    • Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution
  • Be careful how you pay. It is safer to pay by check or credit card.
  • Keep a record of your donations. Review your statements to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to. 

For more information on charity fraud and other scams, visit consumer.ftc.gov.

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