FBI warns of charity scams during times of disaster

The FBI is sending information on how to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud.
The FBI is sending information on how to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud.(WJHG)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 2:43 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The FBI is sending information on how to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud.

Charity fraud schemes are especially prevalent after disasters, much like Hurricane Ian in Florida, and criminals use these tragedies to exploit people that want to help. Scammers leverage natural disasters to steal money and/or personal information.

Charity fraud can come from emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, and cold calls. The FBI is advising that everyone use caution and research when donating to charitable causes.

Tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud include:

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Research charity reviews online, state regulators of charities, and charity reports and ratings via the Better Business Bureau.
  • Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
  • Never make charitable donations by gift card or wire transfer. Credit cards are safer.
  • After donating, be sure to review your financial accounts to ensure additional funds are not deducted or charged.
  • Don’t believe your caller ID. Scammers often spoof agency phone numbers. It is always best to research the organization’s telephone number and call directly to verify. Do not be pressured or rushed to donate. If so, it may be a scam.
  • Do not click on links from sources you don’t know. These could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone. Manually type out links instead of clicking on them.
  • Be wary of charity names that sound very similar to well-known charities, as well as email addresses that are not consistent with the charity soliciting donations.
  • Check the charity’s website URL – most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.

If you think you are a victim of disaster or charity fraud, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or online here.