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Scam of the DaY november 17, 2018

Avoiding Phony Charities When Giving to Victims of California Wildfires

Today's Scam of the day is one that I have had to write about a number of times in the years that I have been writing Scamicide.com, but unfortunately, it is still necessary to warn people repeatedly about this type of scam. Natural disasters bring out the best in people who want to donate to charities to help the victims. Unfortunately natural disasters such as the wildfires that have been raging in California for a week also bring out the worst in scammers who are quick to take advantage of the generosity of people by contacting them posing as charities, but instead of collecting funds to help the victims of the natural disasters, these scam artists steal the money for themselves under false pretenses. Sixty-Three deaths have already been attributed to the wildfires and with more than 600 people still missing, the death toll is expected to rise. In addition, more than 9,700 homes have been destroyed in the deadliest and largest wildfires in California history.

Charities are not subject to the federal Do Not Call List so even if you are signed up for the federal Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you. The problem is that whenever you are contacted on the phone, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a fake charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Using a technique called spoofing, the scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate charity when it is not. Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.

TIPS

Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message. Before you give to any charity, you may wish to check out the charity with www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.

Here is a link to the page on charitynavigator.org where it lists a number of charities that have been vetted by charitynavigator.org and are excellent choices if you wish to donate to help the victims of the California wildfires. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5456

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