Charity Fraud Awareness
Natural disasters, the ongoing pandemic, and the upcoming holiday season all trigger a giving spirit in all of us. Sadly, scammers are fully aware of this and take advantage not only of the generosity of donors, but also the charities themselves. In an effort to educate the public and the charities, the IRS joined international organizations and regulators to bring attention to the recent Charity Fraud Awareness Week (October 18-22).
The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of fraud and cybercrime affecting charitable organizations and their donors. The campaign was run by charities, regulators, and law enforces from all over the world. The Fraud Advisory Panel, a UK-based organization, estimates that charities lose 5% of revenue each year due to fraud. Not only are cyber-criminals targeting charities, but scammers create fake charities to fool the public into making donations to these fake charities. If you are planning to give to charity, make sure it is a qualified charity by checking them out with the IRS. See https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/
Scams requesting donations for disaster relief efforts are common on the phone. It is recommended that you not click on any links if the request for donation comes as a text. In addition, on a phone call, do not feel pressured to donate to a charity immediately. Check out the charity before making the donation.
One key point of Fraud Awareness Weeks was a social media campaign focused on stopping charity fraud. Although most of the resources developed by the campaign were aimed at educating charities on how to prevent being the victims of fraud, much of the advice can be used by any business or individual trying to protect itself from fraud and scams. In addition, volunteers involved in fund raising for charities or other non-profit organizations can also benefit from the campaign. A special website was created to provide information and free resources to help prevent and stop charity fraud. See https://preventcharityfraud.org.uk/
Make sure your gifts to charity are used for those in need and not to enrich a criminal. Check out the charity before making any donation.