A Comprehensive List of 35 Fake Charities

Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity analyzer, has just released a list of 35 fake charities. None of these charities are registered as 501(c)(3)s, making their public donation solicitations illegal. Unfortunately, this also means that any donations made to these charities are not tax deductible. In most cases, once the donation has been made, there is no chance of getting it back. Take a look at the list below and make sure to share it on social media to protect other donators from being scammed.

  1. Boobies Rock!
  2. Care Package Campaign
  3. Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
  4. Delaware Firefighters Foundation
  5. Disabled Veterans of America
  6. Employ Young Adults
  8. FM World Charities
  9. Fresh Start Opportunities
  10. The Herron Foundation
  11. I Care Foundation
  12. Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic
  13. Long Island Responds
  14. Matthew M. Brennan Foundation
  15. National Foundation of America
  16. New Hampshire Wildlife Parks & Wildlife Rescue
  17. New Jersey Youth Club
  18. One Child Saved
  19. One Church! One Can! One Night!
  20. One Door for Education, Inc.
  21. Paralyzed American Veterans
  22. RRR Service Dogs
  23. Safety Publications
  24. Say No 2 Cancer
  25. The Se7ven Group
  26. Southeast K9 Search and Rescue
  27. Spotlight on Heroes
  28. Tackle Hatred Now
  30. United Soldiers Outreach LLC
  31. United States Disabled Veterans
  32. United States Handicapped-Disadvantaged
  33. Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans
  34. Winged Warriors
  35. Winning Ways

To avoid being scammed, Charity Navigator always advises donators to request the organization’s Employee Identification Number (EIN). An EIN can be used to verify whether the organization is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. However, take note that even official 501(c)(3) status offers no guarantee that the organization is legitimate. Further research is needed to fully evaluate whether a charity is worth donating to. One key thing to look for is tax information. Genuine organizations will openly provide this information, as well as a complete breakdown of how donations are spent. For more information on how to protect against charity fraud, click here.


Beware of Emails Looking for Donations

If you’re reading this, you are no doubt familiar with SPAM emails, and you likely realize that many of those emails are scams, trying to get your money or your personal information. Unfortunately, some scammers try to take advantage of others’ generosity by pretending to be a charity looking for donations.

This is much more subtle that the “deposed prince” style of scam we’ve all seen. Instead, scammers will set up fake websites, set up fake charities, or even use the names of real charities to try and trick you.

As a general rule, legitimate charities don’t solicit through emails. This isn’t to say that no legitimate charity does this, but when they do, it is generally in the line of “click here to donate” as part of a larger message, such as a campaign update. This model is a favorite of political campaigns, actually, to tell you about the campaign and urge you to go make a donation.

But scammers can use the same model to try and trick you. Regardless of who sent the email, whether it’s a group you trust or a person you know, never follow such links. Instead, go to the website of the organization or person in question if you want to donate. If it’s legitimate, that donation will work either way, and if it’s a scam, your money will go to the right place.

If you get an unsolicited email from a charity you aren’t familiar with, it’s likely fraud, and you shouldn’t feel bad about deleting that email outright. Even if it’s a group you’ve heard of, it could be somebody with a similar email address. If you’re not convinced, if it’s a really professional, official looking email, or you just aren’t sure if it’s a real charity, do some online research. Links in such an email might be phishing attempts, and clicking on them could result in infecting your computer. But going to the website’s homepage, or searching for the group online will be much safer.

With a little common sense you can protect yourself from such scams.

Organizations Resources

Phony Charities

IMG: via Shutterstsock

How many times have you gotten that annoying email from a “Nigerian Prince” who just has to give you millions of dollars?  If you just send him your bank account and social security number and some DNA from your first born child, the deal will be sealed.

Unfortunately, scams are everywhere.  As much as we would like to think that people are all good, honest citizens, there are plenty who will not hesitate to fool you.  In the process, they will try to take your money and even your identity.

So, how do you spot a phony charity?  There are several things to look for.  Be wary of giving out any personal information over the phone.  It’s easy for someone to call you up and impersonate a legitimate organization.  How do you know if they’re really from the Red Cross if they are on the phone?

Second, ask for credentials.  Ask for a number you can call to verify their legitimacy.  Get their website address, supervisor’s name and EIN number (a number filed with the IRS). Call the Better Business Bureau to see if they have ever had any complaints filed against them.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Avoid pushy people.  If they seem to be pressuring you to make a donation right away, run away.  What’s the rush?  Why do they need your money this instant?  That’s a red flag that something is not right.

Today’s fraudsters can look like anybody and everybody.  They may be well-spoken, well-dressed and may even claim to know your relatives.  Don’t fall for it just because they look and sound good.

Be aware that scams can take place over the phone, in the mail, via email or in person.  The perpetrators of this type of crime will make every effort to look, sound or seem real.

We’re not saying you should lose all faith in humanity.  Just be smart about your charitable giving.  Doing a little research to find out if an organization is legitimate will give you peace of mind in the long run.