How to Avoid Charity Scams
Christmas is just around the corner, and while donating to charity is the perfect way to feel fulfilled (and save the world), scams are on the rise. Don’t let charities that truly care about the planet lose out
Generosity makes the individual, and those around them, happier. There are many environmental charities out there, from Friends of the Earth to 350.org, and, when donating, we naturally wish for our contribution to make even the slightest difference. Unfortunately, charity fraud in the UK increases by £400 million every year – your impact, no matter how good your intentions are, will depend on whether or not your chosen charity is truthful to its purpose.
Fake charities will pose as legitimate ones, perhaps even using a name that is similar to that of a large and well-known organisation. In the wake of natural disasters and major events, the number of charity scams rises. The first step in avoiding charity scams is finding out more about the charity – research its mission, and past campaigns. Ask for the its complete name, website, email address, and check for their membership with an organisation like the Charity Commission – if you have any suspicions, or if they give you evasive answers, find another organisation with the same cause.
You always have the freedom to choose where you make your donations and, when on the phone to a fundraiser, you are in no way obliged to make the payment immediately. You’re allowed ask questions, such as how much of the donation will directly benefit the cause and whether it will be tax-deductible. And although many charities operate at an international level, making it harder to gather useful information about their activities, especially when a website isn’t available in English, you can always reach out to an expert based in their home countries. For example, if the charity is Polish, you can reach out to a team of lawyers in Poland for more information.
If you believe you have been involved in a scam and need legal help in the UK you can try fraud solicitors and report the impersonators. Donating to causes you are passionate about is a great quality from which only genuine non-profit organisations should be benefiting.