CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - You’re probably already getting emails asking for donations for Giving Tuesday. But while thousands of real charities depend on Americans’ generosity, scammers will also be out in full force this week.
Con artists often choose group names that sound really close to legitimate group names to confuse people. One example: The Department of Justice recently indicted four people for allegedly creating sham charities in Indiana to fool donors. Those groups -- the Wounded Warrior Fund and the Wounded Warrior Foundation-- collected more than $125,000 in donations and then allegedly spent them on gambling, liquor and cigarettes.
The donors likely thought they were giving to the Wounded Warrior Project, a real charity based in Florida.
The Simply Money Point: Never let someone pressure you into donating money before you’ve had a chance to research that group. Instead, ask the caller for the exact name, phone number and street address of the charity and research it yourself. Google that name with “Scam,” “ripoff,” or “complaints.”
Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau can help with research, too. And remember -- don’t believe what you see on Caller ID. Thieves now “spoof” numbers to make it look like that call is coming from a legitimate group. After you’ve done that homework be careful how you donate. Using a credit card is safest, but make a note of the donation amount and make sure that’s what’s charged to your card. And to be safe, never click on a link in an email to make a donation.