Donating money to causes online and through crowdfunding websites is a convenient way to make a positive impact. You definitely want your money to go to who it was intended. Unfortunately, generous people are sometimes taken advantage of with scams and fraud.

Here are some tips from our Information Security team to avoid online charity scams:

  • Be careful if you receive an email, text message, or social media post asking you to click a link to donate. It is possible that a message like this could be a phishing attempt, especially if it is a charity or a cause that you did not sign up for. It’s best to go directly to the charity’s website than clicking a link in an email or text.
  • If you are considering donating to a charity or cause you have never donated to, do some research before giving. Charity Navigator is a well-respected and free resource for US charities. For Canadian charities, you can refer to the government registry to confirm whether a charity is registered, revoked, annulled, penalized, or suspended.
  • If a friend on social media shares a post about donating to a cause you care about, do some research first. Your friend could have shared something without knowing it was not legitimate.
  • If you are donating online, make sure that the website uses encryption for transactions. At a very minimum, make sure that you’re connected via https (look for the lock symbol in the URL of your browser).
  • Avoid using wire transfers to donate. Wire transfers are commonly used by scammers and cyber criminals and do not provide the same consumer protections that Credit Card transactions offer.