Giving Compass' Take:
- This Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information guide gives practical advice for donors wary of charity scams: Research, careful payment methods and knowing scammers' tricks can offer protections.
- Even legitimate charities may not be effective — but putting a few hours into mapping out a plan will ensure your dollars make a difference.
- Our fully-vetted Issue Funds are a way to guarantee your donation is used well.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
When you decide to support a cause you care about, you want your donation to count. Doing some research and planning your giving can help ensure your donations get where they’ll do good. Here are tips to help you plan your donation — and avoid scams.
Do some research online
- Looking for a charity to support? Search for a cause you care about – like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” – and phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.”
- When you consider giving to a specific charity, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”
Be careful how you pay
- If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay.
- To be safer, pay by credit card or check.
- It’s a good practice to keep a record of all donations. And review your statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate – and that you’re not signed up to make a recurring donation.
Keep scammers’ tricks in mind
- Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. That’s something scammers do.
- Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made.
- Scammers can change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code.
Read the full article about avoiding charity scams from the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information page.