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Make Your Coronavirus Donations Count

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Make Your Coronavirus Donations Count

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The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best and worst of human nature. The best: charities across the country are stepping up and many people are donating what they can. The worst: opportunistic scammers are using fake appeals or sham charities to swindle donations from good-hearted people.

No one wants their coronavirus donation to go to a scammer, so before you give, do some research.

research

Search online for the charity's name and the words "scam" or "fraud"

Review ratings of the charity by these organizations

Check the charity's registration status with your local charity regulator to ensure they're registered to take donations in your state

Here are other things you can do to make sure a scammer isn’t taking advantage of your generosity:

protect against scams
Donate using a credit card

It’s the safest way to donate. Never donate by giving out gift card numbers or using a wire transfer. If someone asks you to donate that way, you can be sure it’s a scam

Double check the organization name

Many fake charities try to trick you by using names similar to those of well-known organizations, but with one word different or misspelled

Ask lots of questions

What’s the charity’s website, address and mission? How much of my donation will go to the program I want to help? How many people does the charity help, and how? If helping your community is important to you, ask how the charity spends money in your area. If you get vague answers, find another way to help

Confirm your donation will be tax deductible

If it’s important to you, use the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search to check. Know that donations to individuals aren’t tax deductible

Don't assume social media posts are legitimate

Just because a friend liked it or shared it on social media, doesn’t make it legitimate. Do your own research. Call your friends or contact them offline to ask them about the post they shared

Visit ftc.gov/charity for more tips on donating wisely. If you see a charity scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your report helps stop scammers and alert others about them.