Scam Alert: Phony Charities

By May 8, 2017 No Comments

When you can’t see the person who’s scamming you, it’s a lot easier to fall victim to an imposter. The FTC reported that imposters were the top frauds of 2016, according to the millions of reported scams last year. These scammers pretend to be anyone from the IRS to the Geek Squad, trying to get your money as quickly as possible.A new study from the Philanthropy Outlook predicts that charitable giving in the U.S. will rise significantly in 2017 and 2018, which creates an urgent opportunity for these imposters.

Most recently, the FTC reported scammers calling on behalf of the “Legal Aid Society” in Hawaii to solicit donations from the national legal aid/defenders office. A quick search shows the numbers that are actually calling are riddled in complaints for different imposter scams. These scammers are relying on your empathy and civic spirit to scam you out of your hard earned cash.

So how can you tell if a charity call is legitimate, or if it’s a scam? Always remember that scammers are looking for instant gratification; they’re trying to move as quickly as possible to get your cash before they get shut down. Here’s what you can do to weed out the imposters:

  1. Take your time. It pays to be a skeptic! Charities have many means of taking your donations, so ask for information via mail, email, or website. You can easily rule out anyone who wants you to send cash or wire money.
  2. Share this info with a friend. Everyone you know gets hit up for charity, so if you receive a suspicious call, make sure to tell others so they’ll be alert to the possibility of a scam.
  3. Report to the FTC. Only 7% of scams are reported to the FTC each year, so take the time to help them bring down the bad guys. You can call at 1-877-FTC-HELP, or file a complaint online at

Here at PrivacyStar, we’ve dedicated an entire staff to verifying who’s a scam, and who’s legit. Known charities will automatically be identified, and known scammers will automatically be blocked. Be aware that scammers can and will spoof phone numbers to throw you off your game; you can report any suspicious calls to the FTC directly from our app.