How to Avoid Charity Fraud

Often after a natural disaster occurs there are calls for donations to charity to help the people affected by the calamity.  Many of these charities are legitimate organizations who do some good works and help those that are most vulnerable.  Think about the recent hurricanes that affected Houston, Florida and the Virgin Islands it left thousands of people homeless and without the basic necessities.  We are moved to contribute and help those that need it.  However it is times like these that also bring out the criminals who prey on your generosity and try and take advantage of the situation.  You want to make sure that your donation is going where you intend it to.  Here is how to avoid charity fraud.

Donate to a Reputable Charity

There are hundreds if not thousands of reputable charitable organizations both at home and abroad who help those that need it.  They are right there on the ground when disaster strikes and they bring food, medicine and shelter to those that are without them.  If you prefer to donate your money to your local community then find the nearest battered women’s shelter or soup kitchen to donate.  They are always in need and they help neighbors in your community.

Ask for Identification

While most charities don’t go knocking door to door anymore there are still some that do.  Before you go and grab your wallet to try and do a good thing, make sure that you take a close look at the identification of those coming to collect.  You should have no problem getting to see the identification of both the charity and the person collecting.  If they don’t want to give it to you then perhaps you should hang on to your money and give to another charity.


Always ask if the charitable donation is tax deductible and whether or not you can get a receipt.  Not being able to write off the donation or get a receipt is huge red flag and you should stay away.  Always make sure that you are not getting a flimsy excuse for why you can’t get a receipt.

Payment Methods

If the charity in questions only takes cash donations then run away.  Any reputable charity can get a bank account allowing them to accept checks or credit card donations.  Only taking cash is a pretty good sign they plan to take your money and run.