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How to avoid a Charity Scammer

Over the last few weeks we've seen a tragic event occur within New Zealand. Dozens have been murdered in the horrific Mosque shootings in Christchurch. 

It's an event that has not only shaken New Zealand, but the world, and the world has mourned for this beautiful city. We know that a particular individual, with quite horrific motives, was the person responsible for this attack. However, something that you may not be aware of, is that some have sought to capitalise on this. 

After tragic events, often charities and organisations (both for profit and not for profit) aim to raise funds for the victims, their families and for the city that has suffered. And what a beautiful thing that is! That others would so graciously and generously give their finances to support their fellow man! But there are others who utilise this for personal gain. 
When large tragic world events like this occur, some create fake online charities promising that 'all funds go directly to Christchurch', or the city in which the tragedy has occurred. They have multiple options of donating, and are almost always online or via the phone. 

They occur in a varying amount of ways, but mostly as pop up ads, claiming that they're an organisation dedicated to helping others.
It's pretty disgraceful, but unfortunately it happens. We want to prevent these people from capitalising off these situations. So, in order to do this, we recommend the following:

Do Your Research

If you see a name on a pop up or are given the name by someone over the phone, do a quick Google search with the word 'review' after the name. Sometimes the charity is real, sometimes it's not. But you always want to give back to a community, charity or organisation that will actually help the cause. It'll only take 5 minutes, but that 5 minutes could help someone in need, rather than someone in want. After you've done research into the matter, you'll find that often there are some amazing, legitimate small organisations that are genuinely working to assist people in need. But, if you're still unsure about it, often it's better to donate to specific larger organisations that you're already aware of. 

Know Scammer Methods

Scammers often have patterns and certain methods they use to gain their finances. It's important to know how they work, what they do, and when to hang up or avoid them. 

Are they calling with no caller ID? Does another nation pop up when they call? Or is it a local number, but takes a few seconds to load after you answer? We're not saying don't answer your phone, but definitely be careful about responding or wait for a message. If it's an unknown number like a doctor telling you you're due for your next check-up, they'll leave a message.
The other thing that you need to be careful about is what they tell you. Ask questions about where the money will go, what it will do, who will it help? These are all valid questions that a genuine organisation should be able to answer quickly and honestly. 

Know Your Payment Method

Are they asking you to pay in Cash, wire or pay via a gift card of some sort? Last time we called the Red Cross, they didn't ask for us to donate money via an iTunes Card... 
If you're donating via an online portal, ensure that charity is legitimate, because you don't want your credit card details to be taken, because that can lead to a new world of problems. 
Another thing you want to ensure, even if the organisation is legitimate or not, is that you don't sign up for recurring payments, unless of course that's what you're wanting to do. 

This type of act is probably as low as it gets, an anti Robin Hood so to speak. Which is why it's so important that we all be on alert when it comes to fake charities. These people, who are wrongfully trying to capitalise off these tragic circumstances are increasing, and we need to stop them by ensuring that we don't respond to their scams. 
So, do your research, know their methods and be careful how to pay, because if you're going to assist those in need, you want to make sure you're helping them. 
If you have any questions or queries about this, feel free to contact us, we're always here to help.  

Ryan Lim