Home Tips to avoid charity scams on Giving Tuesday, during holiday season

Tips to avoid charity scams on Giving Tuesday, during holiday season

Crystal Graham
buying online
(© AdriaVidal – stock.adobe.com)

Giving Tuesday is the day when many choose to give back, but it’s also the time of year when scammers ramp up efforts to take advantage of your goodwill.

Virginia Tech cybercrime expert Katalin Parti said that charity scammers typically impersonate other successful charities.

“They may call you using a local phone number,” said Parti. “That tactic can give you a false sense of security.”

Once they get you on the line, it’s time for the scammer to make their pitch.

“It will be a good one. It will tug at your heart strings,” said Parti. “But listen closely because they will never actually specify how they will help. They may even claim that you’ve donated before and ask you to do it again.”

Parti recommends keeping the following in mind when giving this holiday season:

  • Do your research. Use the IRS tax-exempt organization search tool or a watchdog like Charity Watch to get more information and learn if the charity is credible. Google also works.
  • Pay close attention to the charity name and website. False charities like to mimic other popular charities. If it seems too close in name to another, it might not be real.
  • Keep track of your donations. Even if you accidentally donate to a scammer, you need to ensure that the donation isn’t recurring.
  • Don’t give away all your personal information. It’s normal to provide your card information, but don’t do the same with your Social Security number or bank account number.
  • Don’t make a cash donation. Unless you’re certain about a charity’s credibility, don’t give away cash, gift cards or cryptocurrency.

For more advice on avoiding holiday scams, click here.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.