Donating in difficult times

  • Do some research. There are many good organizations to support. Search online for recommendations — and, when you’ve found one that’s well thought of, check it out. Type the group or fund’s name into a search engine, plus the word “scam, “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Consider how you pay. Real charities won’t ask you to pay by cash, money transfer, gift card, or Bitcoin. That’s how scammers ask you to pay. So if someone tells you to donate that way, think about donating elsewhere.
  • Research crowdfunding, too. Many funds that give real help spring up right after a tragedy. But scammers put up crowdfunding pages, too, and it can be hard to tell the difference. You want your money to go to help, so do some online checking to find the real, official funds that support the people or causes you want to support.
  • If someone rushes you, slow down. Scammers want to get your money as soon as they can. They might start calling, pressuring you to give – or even saying you made a pledge. And, since you can’t trust caller ID, you won’t know who’s really calling. So go back to the first bullet: do some research and then give. Just not in response to pressure.

Learn more about other ways to check out charities, and how to give safely, at

Information provided by Jennifer Leach
Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

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