We all know charity is good thing, It comes in a social service. But sometimes people do charity because they want to make profit for themselves. Some people try to do charity to save income tax. And some people run charity organization to hide their unethical work.
The dark side of charity
We call it a charity scam when someone tries to make a profit by leveraging others’ generosity. Charity scammers sometimes deceive people by pretending to be a victim asking for help or, sometimes they impersonate legitimate charity organizations for their personal gain. There are various types of Charity scams, which occurs when a legitimate company does not fulfill what they are intended to do.
Charity Scams prevalent nowadays
People who often resort to charitable organizations to help people, need to educate themselves about all the scams the charity scammers utilize to deceive people, before making any donations. Some of these charity scams are discussed in this article,
- Imitating Genuine Charity Organizations
- Cash, Check or Cryptocurrency Payments
- Psychological Manipulation
- Obscure Donation Process
- Hidden Charges and Service Taxes
- Sweepstakes or Giveaway Offers
- Not Fulfilling Promises
- Exploiting High Profile Disasters
- Scams Prevalent Through Online Communication and Crowdfunding Platforms
- Impersonating Real Victims
- Phishing Scams
Imitating Genuine Charity Organizations:
Impersonation scam is a very common method that a charity scammer utilizes to trick people. In this scam, scammers imitate the existing website of a genuine, renowned charitable organization and garner money. Scammers copy everything starting from domain names to design of the website so that their targets cannot differentiate them from the legitimate websites. There they put fake campaigns in order to raise money.
Cash or Cryptocurrency Payments:
Scammers prefer donations in cash as it is not possible to track them after they run away with your money. Unlike cash payments, transactions done with credit cards are managed and maintained by centralized organizations and can be tracked down if the victim decides to take legal actions. Not only cash, scammers also prefer payments in cryptocurrency, gift cards and wire transfer for the same reason. Once someone makes a transaction with a cryptocurrency it cannot be traced; neither can victims demand a reversal of their transaction.
Ingenious charity scammers randomly contact their targets and thank them for donations they never made. This is a tactic of psychological manipulation which creates a sense of guilt in victims and leads them to make donations. The statements are stuffed with words that influence donors’ sentiments.
Obscure Donation Process:
A charity scammer is seldom unclear about where and how they are going to utilize the money the donor has given. As their intention is not pure they try to keep it obscure. Unlike these scammers, a legitimate charitable organization prefers keeping their procedure transparent.
Hidden Charges and Service Taxes:
Perpetrators of charity scams make profits by adding unnecessary service taxes. They subtract money from the donations they have made and demonstrate it as a service tax. Moreover, some scammers do not mention about the extra charges but fictitiously deduct them once the donation has been made. These unethical scammers make tremendous profits through these hidden charges.
Sweepstakes or Giveaway Offers:
Business organizations usually resort to sweepstakes and giveaway contests to grow their business. People need to buy a token to participate in these contests. In these contests, participants get rewards on winning. Unfortunately, some charity scammers utilize this method to raise money for campaigns. However, this is an illegal thing to do.
Not Fulfilling Promises:
Scammers who perpetrate charity scams, garner money from the donors claiming that they will use the money on charity work but in reality they leverage the money they collect for their personal profit. Charity scam occurs when an individual or a charitable organization does not fulfill the promises they make while raising money.
Exploiting High Profile Disasters:
Acquisitive, unethical scammers exploit high profile disasters and natural disasters for their own benefits. They target common people as well as high profile celebrities and business people. These cruel scammers exploit victims’ adversity for their financial gain.
Scams Prevalent through Online Communication and Crowdfunding Platforms:
The acceleration of digital modernization has provided the scammers a chance to be more prevalent in the fields of online communication and social media. Not only that, they are widely spread on the platform of crowdfunding too. So, it is advisable to verify before you trust a campaign, whether you find it on social media platforms or crowdfunding.
Impersonating Real Victims:
Scammers deceive the donors by pretending to be a victim. Sometimes they fool them by saying that they have faced a terrible accident, sometimes they claim that their relative needs money to pay their medical bills. Scammers impersonate a real victim by collecting their images from a real campaign raised in some unpopular crowdfunding platform. They spread the messages seeking help through social media and online communication platforms to trick people in bulk.
Phishing scam occurs when charity scammers target the victims via emails. Charity scammers send their targets emails providing malicious links that redirect them to the fraudulent website scammers develop to trick the donors. The website as mentioned earlier looks identical to existing genuine crowdfunding websites. Through these websites scammers leverage donors’ goodwill and earn money. Sometimes they even deploy spyware in victims’ devices to garner their personal information.
How to prevent getting scammed by a charity scammer
- Never share your personal information before verifying whether the charitable organization is legitimate or not.
- Avoid donating with cryptocurrency, wire transfer and gift cards.
- Avoid cash payments.
- Be wary of emails coming from unknown sources along with PDF files and attachments.
- Never open a link you received from unknown charitable organizations.
- Donate to charities that you personally know and trust.
- Donate to renowned non-profit organizations.
- Research before you make any decisions regarding donations.
- Make sure you know who is receiving the donation you are making.
- Confirm if the donation you are signing up for is recurring donations or not.
- Look for ratings and other donors’ reviews for the charitable organization you are planning to donate to.
- Donate via credit cards.
- Educate yourself about all the charity scams to avoid falling into the trap of charity scams.
- One should remember that a genuine charitable organization’s website address generally ends with .org not .com.
Research is a robust countermeasure to avoid the threats put forward by charity scams. However, there are plenty of organizations that can be found on the internet that help victims to recover their lost funds.