The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 11, 2012

Scam alert: Shysters look to cash in on Sandy


In addition, here are some tips from to help you feel more confident when you make donations and help you make sure your money, time and effort are going to real organizations.

Don’t believe emails from supposed victims

Emails are one of the primary tools that fraudsters use to fool unsuspecting people. Their tactics don’t change for disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Be extremely careful with any emails you receive or videos you see online from someone claiming to be a victim. Never send personal or financial information, or wire money, to someone who has emailed you out of the blue.

Don’t give in to pressure to donate

A legitimate charity will not pressure or rush you to donate immediately. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s OK to say “no.” Also, you should never provide any personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking information, over the phone. Real charities will gladly accept donations by check.

Keep an eye out for unusual charges on your phone bill

Sending a donation through a text message is actually a common form of payment used by real charities, so you can expect to see the amount charged to your phone bill. However, if you see additional unexpected charges, you may be a victim of fraud and should contact your phone service provider immediately.

Don’t believe them if you don’t remember donating

Fraudsters will often try to trick you by contacting you and thanking you for your past donation, hoping that you will trust their solicitation more. If you don’t remember ever pledging money to their organization, this is a big warning sign to hang up or not respond.

Don’t let imposters fool you

Fake charities commonly use logos or names similar to more widely known and established charity organizations. If anyone claims to be associated with a more well-known charity and tries to get you to donate, be sure to call the official organization for confirmation.

Don’t give your money to pick up services or use cash

If a supposed charity says they will accept your payment by sending a courier or pick up service, this is a sign of fraud and you should not donate. In addition, if they say they will take cash donations, this is also a red flag.


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