This time of year, especially, we have to watch out for charity scams. Not everything – particularly originating from the internet – that purports to be a charity really is one. Too many people are out just to play on your heart strings and take advantage of your charitable mood during the holiday season. Recently, someone on Facebook claiming to be representing an orphanage in Africa solicited a donation from me. I immediately suspected a scam, buy toyed around with him for a while to see what he would specify in regard to how and where the funds should be sent.
Any real charity nowadays will provide their organization name, have a working website, and accept checks, money orders, and credit cards. None of this was true of this guy’s “charity.” He refused to me supply me with the name of the orphanage, which would have allowed me to see if it had a website. But the kicker was that he wanted the money sent either by a bank transfer into some individual’s account or by a Western Union money transfer to that person. That’s a sure sign of scam. But even when everything appears to be on the up and up, you should still check with the Better Business Bureau about the supposed charity.