When disasters like Harvey and Irma strike, it’s natural for charitable giving to increase. Unfortunately, however, scams and fraudsters are equally ready to take advantage of your generosity. How can you know the difference between a valid charity and a scam?
There are several ways that we can donate these days, including social media, but the scams use these same methods too. So the way you give doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a safe path.
Here are some tips to make sure your donations are put to good use and left in good hands.
Avoid any charity or fundraiser with the following characteristics:
- Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used
- Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible
- Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization
- Thanks you for a pledge that you don’t remember making
- Uses high-pressure tactics, like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research
- Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money
- Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately
- Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.
Some important tips to remember when you do make donations include:
- Check if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance
- Don’t send cash. For security and tax purposes, write a check – made payable directly to the organization– or use a credit card.
- Keep a record of your donations and know beforehand if it is tax deductible.
- Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters. Even if they are legitimate, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donation to the affected area or people.
For more financial tips, visit your local credit union. HealthNet Federal Credit Union has proudly served Baptist Memorial Health Care employees and the health care community throughout the Mid-South for more than 60 years.
For information about the credit union, please call 901-226-1111.
HealthNet Federal Credit Union
1591 Chickering Lane, Cordova, TN 38016
(901) 226-1111 | www.healthnetfcu.org