Charity Scams:

Charity Scams are unethical activities performed by charity scammers with the motive of stealing money from donors. In these scams, cheaters act as representatives from so-called charitable organizations, getting in touch with people regarding donations to their charities. They mention that they are asking for donations for reasons such as aid for victims of floods, landslides, etc. Naturally, people get touched by these incidents and donate money. But as soon as these cheaters receive donations, they disappear. 

Tips to save yourself from Charity Scams - Sheba Binimoy

Working of a Charity scam:

The working of Charity Scams takes place in these below-mentioned ways.

  • In the initial stage, a charity scammer from a so-called charitable organization contacts the victim through a call or email regarding the donation. The call or email specifies the contribution needed to help people suffering from disasters like floods, landslides, etc. 
  • After that, the scammer provides the donor with the link where they can donate. 
  • Then the donor uses that link and donates money to their so-called charitable organization. 
  • As soon as a donation is received, the person disappears with the money.

Indications of a Charity Scam:

People get easily fooled by the stories mentioned by charity fraudsters, and their money eventually gets stolen. Therefore, these warning signs or indications that are mentioned below can assist people in identifying donation frauds. 

  1. Please note that if any person from a charity asks you for a donation and denies giving out details relating to their location, usage of money, mission statement, etc., it indicates fraud.
  2. You may come across representatives of a charitable organization pressurizing you to donate money immediately. Please do not fall for them. It is a red flag that it’s a charity scam. Remember that reputed charitable organizations always give you time to donate. 
  3. If scammers ask for personal information, please don’t share it with them.
  4. Donation collectors from a fraudulent charitable organization are likely to approach you on the road. Be cautious if they don’t have any identity proof or if you suspect that it is fake.
  5. If donation collectors ask only for cash instead of a cheque, it may be a scam.
  6. If you receive mail asking for donations, then it is a clear indication of fraud. It’s most probably from scammers pretending to be from some so-called charities

Tips to avoid charity scams:

The tips mentioned below could help you protect yourself and others from becoming victims of charity fraud

  1. If you want to donate money to a charity, please research the charitable organization you are contributing to. In addition to that, check if that charity is real, reputed, and of a higher standard.
  2. Educating yourself about the warning signs of charity fraud is mandatory as it will allow you to be careful while deciding on charity or donations.
  3. Be alert if you get an email from charities you have not yet supported earlier. 
  4. Ignore the thank you emails you receive from the charities unknown to you, when you haven’t even made any donations.
  5. It is advisable to delete the emails that you receive from charities that have some attachments sent along, as there are chances that these attachments contain malware or any software that could harm your computer. 
  6. Never give your personal information to anyone doing charity. If you get an email or call regarding this, just ignore it and report it to the nearest police station.
  7. Beware of Charities asking for donations via wire transfers, gift cards, and credit cards. Never entertain them or donate your money to them. 
  8. Please do not respond to charities that are ready to provide courier services to receive your donated cash.
  9. Make sure to check for odd phone numbers or email addresses. 
  10. If you get an email or a call from a charity, enquire about it with your family and friends.

Categories of Charity frauds:

Charity frauds are classified into several types; some of them are as follows:

  • Unauthorized charity funding fraud:

In unauthorized charity funding fraud, the scammers pretend to gather donations for a charity and convince people to give money for a legal cause. But in reality, the cheaters use this scheme to only keep the money for themselves.

  • Holiday scams:

Scammers know very well that people give money to charity during holidays. So they might force you to give money because it is a holiday. The cheaters may even falsely express their gratitude towards your donation made in the past though you don’t remember making one. 

For example, A gets a call from someone who is a part of a charitable organization, to donate money during a national holiday. Then A might try to look up more about the charitable organization. Then that person from the charitable organization forces A to donate because it is a national holiday. At times, that person may thank A for donating money in the past even though A does not remember doing that. It is just a tactic to make A donate.

  • Social media charity scams:

Social media scams are occurring in large numbers, but it is more common in the case of charity. Charity victimizers use social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, etc., to post about their fake charities and attract people. They publish in such a way that people get convinced to donate their money. These scammers pretend to be raising funds for disasters like landslides, floods, etc. They may even post on social media about raising funds for old, sick, and poor people affected by deadly diseases and provide a link for donations. As soon as people click on that link, it takes them to a phony fundraising page which may even contain real photos of people. When people donate, that amount goes to victimizers and not the needy. 

For example, people may come across some postings on Twitter put up by scammers persuading people to donate money to the ones who have been victims of Tsunami. They may say that it is funds being raised for Tsunami victims. A link will be present in that post where the donors can pay money online. When people click on that link, it leads them to a spoofy fundraising page with actual images of the people. When people contribute their money, it directly goes to the fraudster’s bank account. 


People interested in donating money to charities should educate themselves about donation scams as they are very dangerous. If they know about donation scams, they can easily decide before making donations. Additionally, people should also learn about the red flags indicating donation scams. It will only help them protect themselves further.

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