Updated: May 21
Though charity scams are ever-present, BBB has seen a number of scammers attempting to take advantage of our feelings and wallets in the height of the pandemic. When these scams are advertised alongside legitimate campaigns set up by well-meaning individuals, it’s difficult to know who to trust. BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others.
BBB recommends taking these precautions before choosing to give:
Scammers may impersonate charities by requesting funds or gift cards to assist victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, including families, small businesses, and COVID-19 patients.
Be aware of scammers who use crowdfunding websites, like GoFundMe or Kickstarter, to replicate a fake charity. Always donate directly at the source of an organization or business.
There could potentially be an influx of donors and givers in the height of a crisis. It may be best to hold off and donate during the aftermath as donations could be slowing down. Things like food, money, blood, and water are critical during the aftermath of a crisis.
Search the person or charity in question along with the words “complaint” and “scam.” Check Scamtracker.org for any scams that have been reported about an organization.
The charity that you’re looking to give to will most likely have a website that provides access to information on its programs, board roster, and finances. You can also verify their government registration.
Report any suspicious activity to www.scamtracker.org.