December 12, 2022 | Posted in:

3 Major Charity Scam Red Flags

This time of year, it’s important to protect yourself from holiday-related cons. If you’re planning to make year-end donations, learn how to spot a charity scam. Here are a few big red flags:

Popup charities.

Natural disasters, endemics and calamities of every type spawn an inordinate number of fake nonprofits. You can avoid these scams by donating to charities that you trust and those with a proven track record. If you’re unsure, check out the organization with Charity Navigator, GuideStar or a similar watchdog group.

Evasive answers to fundraising questions.

If you receive a phone call asking for a donation, the caller should be upfront about who will be helped and the percentage of funds allocated to administration and marketing, Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions and expect direct answers. If the fundraiser seems to hedge their responses or knows little about the supposed cause, consider a different charity. Beware of vague claims like “educating the public” or “promoting awareness.”

Urgent email requests.

Websites made to mimic legitimate charities have conned many otherwise careful contributors. Emails asking for money on a deadline may originate from the computer of a scam artist. Never divulge your financial information via email. Call the charity directly. Ask for written information. When in doubt, check it out.


Many legitimate charitable organizations are seeking your aid to address genuine hardships. Avoid the schemes of unethical scammers, and your donations will provide help where it’s needed most.

If you think you’ve been contacted by a bogus organization, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.


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Chris provides accounting, tax planning, and consulting services to professional athletes, family entertainment centers, and other businesses in the amusement and hospitality industry. He also aids clients in implementing cloud accounting solutions.
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