Protect Yourself from Charitable Scams

October 19, 2021

Today there’s a great need to help others in need. But, how can you help? Which charitable organizations can you trust? While we’d all like to think every charitable foundation or organization is legitimate, there are some that take advantage of the good among us. You should take the following precautions to make sure our donation benefits the people and organizations you desire to help.
 
  • Never send cash donations. For security and tax purposes, it’s best to pay by debit or credit card on a secure online site. You may also choose to send a check made payable to the charity. 
  • Understand the difference between “tax-exempt” and “tax-deductible.” Tax exemption means the charitable foundation or organization doesn’t have to pay taxes. Tax-deductible means you may be able to deduct your contribution on your taxes.
  • Never send a wire transfer to someone claiming to be a charity. Many times, scammers will request donations be sent by wire to facilitate your contribution to a cause. But, the reality is, like cash, once you send money via wire, you can’t get it back.
  • Don’t give someone your personal financial information unless you’ve initiated the call.  After you’ve done your homework and are ready to contribute to a legitimate charity, go ahead and call or donate online.
  • Be cautious of charities that arise after current issues or natural disasters. Even if legitimate, they may not have the ability to get donations to those in affected areas. If a donation request comes from a group claiming to help your local community, ask a local agency if they’ve heard of them.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a charity scam in any way, it’s important that you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov.  Additionally, if someone has made an unauthorized transaction from one of your SCCCU accounts, contact us immediately at 831-425-7708. 
 

Posted in: