Charity fraud can do and does do a lot of harm. The con artist takes advantage of the generosity of people and good intentions by taking their cash, money thwarted that was meant for people in need. You can make sure that any money you give gets into the right hands. Just remember these tips when somebody asks you for a donation. 1] Ask for identification, for the organization AND the solicitor.
Find out what the purpose of the charity is and how funds are used. 2] Ask if contributions are tax deductible. 3] Important! If you are not satisfied with the answer, do not give. Go with your gut feeling no matter how you are pressed. 4] Give to charities that you know. 5] Thoroughly check out the ones you have never heard of before, or others whose names are similar to a well-known charity.
6] Do not fall for high-pressure tactics. If solicitors will not take no for an answer, tell them NO way, AND DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. 7] Be suspicious of charities that only accept cash.
8] Always send a check made out to the charity and not the individual requesting the donation. It is also probable that you will come across charity schemes on the Internet. They are most evident online after a major man-made [e.g. World Trade Center] or natural disaster [e.g.
Katrina] has occurred and there is a swelling of the desire of the to help whatever way it can. There have been cases where the con artist has developed an email or Website that mimics a known charitable organization but your contribution ends up going to the con artist instead of the charitable organization he claimed to have represented. More on this scam know as PHISHING in just a bit. Below are two  more scenarios that have been commonly used by con artists in the past and one  that has been running rampant on the Internet. THE PIGEON DROP A person approaches you and says that he just found a large amount of money.
What should he do with it? Maybe his boss can suggest something. He then leaves to check with his boss and comes back a few minutes later. His boss said to divide the money, but first, each of you must put up some, good faith money. Once you hand over your share, you will never see it or the con artist again. THE BANK EXAMINER A con artist will contact you and tell you he is a bank official or police officer and that he needs your help to catch a dishonest bank teller.
All you have to do is withdraw your savings and give the money to him so he can check the serial numbers. IF you do, you have been STUNG. A real bank official would NEVER ask you to withdraw your money. Is it hard to believe that people fall for such tricks? Con artists may be the greatest actors you will ever meet. The pigeon drop and the bank examiner schemes are two of the most successful con games around. Do not be fooled.
CALL THEIR BLUFF BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. PHISHING Con artists and scammers have been busy on the Internet too. In many cases the swindle is accomplished by the con artist stating that he is asking for donations on behave of some charitable organization when in fact he is working for himself or herself. Phishing has become a major problem on the Internet in the last couple of years. You receive an email from a fraudulent source that has created a Web page that looks like it is a legitimate email from a bank or other organization that is well known; one that you may have had some dealings with.
Quite often the bogus email states that it is updating records or trying to correct some error made by the firm. The scammers attempt to get you to supply some personal information such as social security number, account numbers and the like. If you do supply that type of information the phisher is apt to use it by assuming your identity and cleaning out your accounts. The bogus Websites and emails have been becoming increasingly believable and have copied legitimate Websites so closely that it sometimes takes a trained eye to spot them. Of late, there has been decent anti-phishing software on the market that you could use to help you discern the good emails and Websites from the fraudulent ones. I would recommend that you use this software, especially if you have problems discerning the good guys from the scammers.
There are many times when an appeal to you for money just does not sound or sit right. When this occurs, walk away from the appeal. You need to be able to recognize these scams on the onset so you can protect yourself, your resources and your identity.
Bill Wallmuller is the founder of Merokee Enterprises. Two of the author's concerns are personal safety and crime prevention. You can learn more by visiting the Website: http://www.personal-defense-technology.com