Signs of Charity Fraud

Charity frauds have become a growing concern especially with the advent of technologies such as email, mobile messaging and internet. These scammers will exploit the emotional outpouring from generous people and siphon their money for personal use in the name of charity. This is both illegal and unethical although scammers mushroom every single time there is a natural disaster or a human-catastrophe taking place in some part of the world. Thus, the donors have a duty to verify the legitimacy of the charity that they expect to contribute before making such contributions. In the event of any doubt, they should not hesitate to inform the authorities in order to prevent anyone else from falling victim to such fraudulent acts.

However, charity fraud should not be a deterrent to the discerning donors as many unfortunate people remains hopeful for such donations to save their lives and to get back on their feet. Therefore, knowing the signs of charity fraud should enable such donors to direct their donations to the people in need through legitimate charitable organizations. Following is a brief description of some of these warning signs, which should be taken seriously when dealing with ‘charities’.

Among the most noticeable signs of charity fraud, request or ‘demand’ for on the spot donations should be highlighted. These fraudsters will work on the emotional outpouring of the generous donor and will try to make the person look and feel bad if they refuse to donate. At the same time, charity frauds will also want their donors to contribute in the form of money, bank transfers or else using their credit or debit cards rather than through cheques or other verifiable methods. If such methods are to be used, the solicitors will request these donations to be made in the name of a person rather than in the name of the charity.

Even with all these demands, the scammer will not want to divulge much information related to the charity, especially to show official documentation with approvals and permissions given by the local authorities. In some instances, scammers may provide documents, which closely resemble the original documents of a recognized charitable organization. Both the inability to divulge enough information and the use of counterfeit documentation should be considered warning signs.  Making use of a name, which closely resembles a well-known charity, is another strategy adapted by these fraudsters, which also needs to be dealt carefully.

In most instances, solicitors or fraudulent charities will show signs of not having a well-known name and being defensive against questions of their past activities and objectives of doing such charitable work. Many excuses may be given for not providing much information including getting angry at the questions that are being thrown towards the fraudster. In the event of a newly formed charity and in the instances of a charity name formulated for a specific issue, one should feel suspicious and should further investigate the charity to ascertain its legitimacy.

In the instances of phone solicitors and email spammers, it is common for them to request personal financial data over the phone, through an email or through a fraudulent web site. In any event, unless these charities have been verified personally, one should not adhere with such requests.

When looking at these warning signs, it is apparent that there are people who will make use of the grievances of certain human beings to their own advantage. Therefore, as a person who cares for others, one should take responsibility to channel his or her donations through legitimate charities to those who are in a legitimate humanitarian need.