Even though you may want to donate to businesses and people suffering from the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are illegitimate charities out there that want to make a quick buck off of your generosity.
Donations now take advantage of web pages and online applications that can send your donations to those in need through an electronic payment system. This is why it’s much easier for scammers and fake charities to steal from those who simply want to do some good in the world. If you’re going to go out on a limb for someone else’s sake, be sure to keep these tips in mind before making a donation.
Do your homework before donating to a charity, especially if it was formed in response to COVID-19. This doesn’t mean any recently-formed charity is a scam, just that you need to ask questions before you should give.
A legitimate charity, formed at any time, should be able to provide you with their name, address, telephone number, mission, how the donation will be used, and the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. You can also ask for the organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) which a legitimate charitable organization will have.
An organization is not authentic just because it uses words like “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos. Make sure you can find the nonprofit’s EIN somewhere on their website or donation page to know that the money is going to the right place.
You can evaluate the legitimacy of various charities at the following websites: Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
Check the Links
Be wary of any emails claiming to be taking relief donations for COVID-19. Hackers may take the opportunity to scam users with phishing emails. Links could lead to downloads or infected attachments that could infect your PC with malware.
Hover over the link to check the URL it’s taking you to. If you don’t recognize it or it seems to be illegitimate, do not click on it!
- Scammers are also posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information.
- Never donate using cash, gift card, or wire transfer. Use a credit card whenever possible.
- Be especially vigilant before giving donations through peer-to-peer or social networking websites, as it is difficult to verify that your donation will be used properly. This includes texts or messages you might receive online.
Remember, just because you want to help someone in need doesn’t mean that you should put yourself at risk to do so.
You should take every precaution to avoid the numerous threats facing your IT systems. Look to Exact IT for guidance in protecting your digital assets. Our team can help ensure you have the necessary measures in place to safeguard your business data.