Advertisement
personal finance

Beirut Explosion: Avoid Charity Scams

With the recent explosion in Beirut kicking off calls for aid, beware of scammers trying to take advantage.

After any disaster, many Americans open their hearts and wallets. During the pandemic alone, giving had reached $10.2 billion (by early May), with $6 billion of that coming from the U.S., according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

But this generosity is often preyed on by scammers. If you're planning to donate in the wake of the recent explosion that rocked the port of Beirut, it’s important to do your due diligence. Fake charities and victims tend to pop up overnight, waiting to take advantage of folks' generosity. Here’s how you can protect yourself. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Vet the charity. When in doubt, donate to well-known charities. If you’re unsure of a charity’s standing, check reviews on watchdog websites such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. And keep your perspective open on those reviews, too. Don’t rely solely on one person’s review. Read through the charity’s website and search the news to see if it’s been involved in problems. 

Social media and crowdfunding. If you’re seeing more relief requests via social media, be wary of handing over your cash. Check to see if the charity or cause listed has a working website. Do not click on links sent to your email, or in social media messages and comments. If there's a name listed, search the name, then go directly to the web site.

Be particularly wary of new organizations or ad-hoc fundraisers run through websites such as GoFundMe. While GoFundMe guarantees that funds will go to the beneficiary, not the campaign organizer, and will refund up to $1,000 to donors if there is evidence of misuse, the cause itself could be fake, so always cross check the information across various platforms. 

And last but not least, don’t feel pressured to give if someone is badgering you. Do not give cash, gift cards or do a wire transfer. It’s best to pay by credit card or check. Remember to keep receipts of your donations to charities that are tax deductible. When charities confirm your gift, they should indicate how much of the donations is tax deductible. (Note that donations to GoFundMe campaigns, when they're collected for a private individual or company, are not deductible.)

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Medicare

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

There's Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. We sort out the confusion about signing up for Medicare --…
September 16, 2020
5 Unfortunate Estate Planning Myths You Probably Believe
estate planning

5 Unfortunate Estate Planning Myths You Probably Believe

These all-too-common misconceptions can steer your estate plans in the wrong direction right from the start. Here’s how to overcome them and tips to b…
September 17, 2020
Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 presidential election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden has said …
September 18, 2020

Recommended

When Businesses Fail or People Can’t Pay Bills, Liability Limits Can Save the Day
personal finance

When Businesses Fail or People Can’t Pay Bills, Liability Limits Can Save the Day

From LLCs to trusts, protections are here to help — not just companies and individuals, but our whole economy itself. So, anyone struggling in these t…
September 18, 2020
Prenups for Breadwinning Women: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid
personal finance

Prenups for Breadwinning Women: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid

Protecting the assets you bring into your marriage takes some planning. Take some time to do it right.
September 15, 2020
Tricky Divorce Issue: How to Divide 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities
personal finance

Tricky Divorce Issue: How to Divide 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities

The tax implications can make these assets more complicated to split in a divorce settlement.
September 1, 2020
Facing Financial Firsts in the Wake Of COVID-19
personal finance

Facing Financial Firsts in the Wake Of COVID-19

My, how times have changed, and many of those changes have hit millennials especially hard. To adapt financially, many are doing things differently no…
August 31, 2020