Many people regularly give money to charity; in 2014, £10.6 billion was raised in the UK alone. On average, people in the UK donate £14 per month to a charity, with much of the money going towards medical research. Those who donate money on a regular basis should make sure the money they’re giving goes directly to the charity they think they are supporting.
British charities, for example, should be registered with the Charity Commission; this registration helps to prove the charities’ authenticity, allowing people to know that their money will be put to good use.
Ronald Noble, founder of RKN Global, urges everyone to make sure they only donate to charities who have been registered as authorized charities.
In some cases, fraudsters have been known to operate online, using social media platforms to raise cash. One example in the UK involved agents raising money for an overseas animal welfare charity that did not exist. Many people genuinely want to help suffering animals; it is this desire to help that helps the pockets of fraudsters. While there are many different ways to give money to charity, it seems that donating money online is becoming more and more popular. Donating online is convenient, and it allows us to give money without having to withdraw any cash. However, online scams can often leave us out of pocket while funding the lifestyles of fraudsters and con artists.
Awareness is the key to protecting yourself from charity fraud, both online and offline.
In person, one way to protect yourself from falling victim to charity donation fraud is to ask those who claim to be collecting money for identification. If they show you identification but you still have concerns, simply do not give them any money.
If you genuinely want to give money to charity, approach the charity in question with a donation, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Charities will be more than happy to accept a donation of any size, and they will not use pressure to get you to donate more.
You should also be on the lookout for promotional material that contains spelling mistakes or is simply badly written. Genuine charities will produce material that is eye-catching and tells you who will receive your donations; it will read well. Of course, a good presentation alone is no guarantee.
If you are approached by someone asking you to donate money who uses intimidation or aggressive behavior to try to persuade you, just walk away, close the door, or hang up the phone. Genuine charities will not ask their fundraisers to behave this way.
Another way to protect yourself is to make sure you never give your bank details to someone you do not know; this includes charities too.
If you think you have been scammed by a fraudster, contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Describe whom you thought you were donating money to, and what the individual looked like. Describe his or her demeanor, how he or she acted, and what type of accent he or she had. All of these details may seem irrelevant, but they could help the authorities catch the fraudsters.
If you donated money to a website, look in your search engine’s history for the address. If you donated via a social media platform, look for the page or account you donated to.
There are many genuine charities out there that work tirelessly for good causes. Awareness on your part can not just keep you from getting defrauded, but also ensure that your money does the good that you want it to.