On Monday, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reminded Floridians to stay alert and beware of scams when dealing with charitable causes on Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving at the start of the holiday season that occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In 2020, Americans gave an estimated $2.47 billion to charities in the United States, which was a 25 percent increase in donations compared to 2019.
“The holiday season is a time for Floridians to give back and Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to support charitable organizations in need. The holidays bring out the best in people, but they can also bring out the worst in some. Consumers must remember to always stay vigilant and be on the lookout for potential fraud and scams. Beware of unsolicited offers from charities through email and social media and be suspicious of any charity asking for cash only payment. Always research and verify the charity you’re giving to is reputable and never feel pressured into donating. By staying alert this holiday season you can ensure your donation is going to a good cause and not lining the pockets of a scam artist,” Patronis said.
Patronis offered the following tips.
Five Tips to Avoid Charity Scams:
1. Ask questions. Most online donation campaigns have a comment section, use this tool to ask questions about how the money will be distributed, who the money will go to, and even how much goes directly to support efforts.
2. Watch out for similar charity names. Scammers sometimes create fake charity names that are similar to the actual name of the organization with the hopes of creating confusion among consumers.
3. Pause before donating. Don’t feel pressured into giving an immediate donation. Always take your time to research the organization to ensure you are making the right decision.
4. Use safe forms of payment. Never donate to charities by gift card, wire transfer or fast cash apps such as CashApp or Venmo. Consider paying by credit card for better security.
5. Verify on the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) Check-A-Charity, which is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of publicly-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.