Save Me Steve: Charity & donation scams

There is a warning for you before you give to support the families of those Dallas officers killed in the line of duty. FOX 4’s Steve Noviello explains.

Giving is certainly a good thing, but unfortunately we find during times of great emotion and generosity there is an opportunity for scammers.

The warning today comes from the Dallas Better Business Bureau, which reports an increase in scams particularly on social media and crowd-funding sites immediately after tragic events.

It’s not just the Dallas police ambush, but also recent events in Nice, France and now Baton Rouge.

Here’s a best practices checklist for you.

  • Never click on an unfamiliar website, text or email
  • When possible, process payment through a third-party like PayPal, which can offer some added protection.
  • Ask for proof of non-profit status if an organization claims to have it. Then verify that proof through sites like Guidestar or the IRS.

You should also beware of look-alike sites. It’s not uncommon for imposter charities to purposely choose a name that sounds similar to a well-respected organization.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a change in spelling or a change from a .org to a .com address. So it’s important that you verify who you’re giving to before you make the donation.

Crowd-funding sites are a new and popular way to give. Generally they are problem free, but with this way of giving comes new rules.

While they may have some safeguards, they can’t screen out all fraud. If you want to give directly to a family, see if there’s a way to process that personally.

The BBB warns you also want to understand under what conditions donations will be refunded, if at all.

And finally, find out if the donor or recipient will be charged any administrative costs or fees.