Charity scams are on the rise, avoid them with these tips

There’s a lot of strife in our world, which means there are many who need the help of those who are more fortunate. But with so many charity and nonprofit organizations asking for donations, how can you tell a legitimate organization from a scam?


Before you open your heart and wallet to help the people and the causes you believe in, here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re giving to something legitimate:

  • Research the name of the organization or cause by searching the name online combined with terms like review, scam, or complaint to see if any fraud or scam alerts can be found.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser is registered in the state, as this can be a good indicator that it’s a legitimate charity.
  • Before giving, ask for more information about the organization/charity, including contact information you can try before donating. Make sure they can answer all your questions completely and satisfactorily. If anything seems off, walk away or hang up.
  • If you wish to make a charitable donation, either contact the organization directly or go through one of the many local charitable organizations in our communities.

Make sure you’re also watching out for these red flags:

  • Don’t let anyone rush you. Scammers love to pressure you to make a quick decision without thinking things through. Real charities will be happy to receive your donation when you’re ready.
  • Avoid donations by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, or money transfer service. If they demand to be paid that way, or if the payment is not being paid to the charity, it’s being made to a person. Your safer bet is to pay by credit card.
  • Double-check the name. Scammers sometimes use names that deceptively sound like real, legitimate charities that you know and trust.
  • Scammers often refuse to send you information about their charity, provide details, or tell you how the money will be used.

If you’d like an example of a local charity, check out what we do at the Fox Cares Foundation* at For more on Fox Communities Credit Union, please contact our friendly Fox team or come see us at one of our many Fox locations.

*Fox Cares Foundation, Inc. is a Wisconsin nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status effective June 21, 2016. While Fox Communities Credit Union actively supports Fox Cares Foundation, Inc. the entities are neither legal affiliates nor subsidiaries of each other. Fox Cares can make no representation with regard to deductibility of any contribution. Please speak with your tax advisor regarding the tax implications of any charitable contribution to Fox Cares Foundation, Inc.