Online charities have evolved into something that has enabled people to quickly and easily donate money and give charitable donations. Each year, millions of dollars are given to hundreds of thousands of charities worldwide.
As you do more financial transactions online, it’s important to be vigilant on remaining safe when donating your money. Unfortunately, hackers are hiding everywhere, making it that much harder to trust anything. If you are a regular donor to charities or plan to donate to charities, listed below are tips for you to follow and keep in mind when donating your money online.
- Verify the charity. Whether you are giving offline or online, you should always verify that the charity you want to donate to is legitimate. Research the charity and make sure you read about their mission, programs, and any other important information to ensure your money is going to a place that truly needs it - and isn’t just after your money.
Look for privacy policies. Make sure that the charity you want to donate to isn’t going to freely hand out your information to random people. Make sure that your private information is safely guarded and will be used properly.
Beware of fake websites. Pay close attention to the web address of the charity's website. Oftentimes, scammers will make up a web address that looks very similar to a legitimate charity. Pay attention to what you’re typing when searching for a specific charity. Mistyping the charity and not realizing it can be very bad for you and your privacy.
Beware of any attachments in emails. Never open any attachments that are from unsolicited websites. This is where many scammers will lure you into giving out your information freely. Some of these attachments may even harm your computer. Trust your gut when looking at an email. If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open the attachments.
Only donate through websites that are secure. To tell whether or not a website is secure, look for “https” rather than “http” in the URL address line. You should also look for the “padlock” symbol on your browser's status bar. This will let you know if the website is safe or not.
Protect your confidential information. Do not click on any links asking for your personal information like passwords, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers. This is known as phishing, and you don’t ever want to fall victim to this crime.
It’s very unfortunate that people feel the need to make fake charity accounts just so they can make some money. However, it’s just the type of world we live in. We must adapt to these unfortunate events and do everything we can to prevent ourselves from falling victim to these despicable people.
Hopefully these tips will provide some assistance to you for the next time you donate to charities. Don’t ever shy away from donating; just be aware of scams and hackers, because they are hiding everywhere. However, if you’re ever in doubt about a charity, you can always contact the charity directly.