If you get an email promising money and seeking personal information from an unverified source, be alert. You could be the next target of clever cybercriminals. Scammers have perfected their craft over years of trial and error. The result is such a cleverly designed scam that it is difficult to get the understanding of, or know when to report a scam.

Charity drives are a worthy cause, but some charlatans use it to make fools of others and get their money. Charity scammers know what works well with people, so you may even lack the ability to understand or report a scam. How do you catch these fraudsters at their game and prevent them from decamping with your money? Charity scammers can be caught out. Here are the sure signs something is wrong and you need to report the scam.

#1 Money is the Game

The charity scammer will use money demands for a “good” cause to lure you into parting with cash. The charity scammers will always ask for money for causes that are compelling for example, the Haiti earthquake, the Ebola Pandemic in West Africa or the Nepal quake. Whatever be the theme, it almost always revolves around money for a good cause. Never share your personal information/credit card with those who send you an email or a link. Contact your bank at the latest number, don’t use a number found in the email or the website.  Report a scam, if the charity drive is focused on using the money for purposes other than the aim of helping out.

#2 Creating Urgency, Tapping Compassion

The scammer will also use a fake sense of urgency and induce compassion for the cause to circumvent the rational process of thinking for the victim. Misdirection, scammers, are the reason one gets distracted from the true goal. Ensure that you report a scam which tries to play on your emotions and get money out of you in criminal ways.

#3 Investigate Emails

Don’t just take a charity email at its face value. Take time and check the internet for keywords used in the email to know if it is a scam. If the email claims to be from a known charity, make sure you verify the same before loosening the purse strings to a possible scammer. Frauds generally can be caught out and you can then report a scam to the authorities, protecting yourself and others from their clutches.

How You Can Safeguard Yourself

Beware of Unsolicited Emails

The first step you need to take is watch out for spam that takes advantage of recent tragedies. Scam emails will claim to be from legit charities, but the links will be scam related donations that have been created or lead to phishing sites bent on using personal information. Report a scam if you find evidence of this immediately.

Don’t Click on Unverified Links

If the email is suspicious, don’t visit any of the links and do not, under any circumstances, open up any attachment in an email which is not solicited, because it could be malware masquerading as a charity call to action. Make sure to report a scam to the authorities if you find the links to be of a dubious nature.

Be Wary of Fake Website Names That Try to Use SEO

A classic example of this is katrinahelp.com which was a scam site used by fraudsters just after the tragedy to cash in on unsuspecting people. Some scammers will definitely try to capitalize on natural disasters and tragedies and register domain names that sound like legit causes.

Always Visit the Charity’s Official Main Website

Another important point is that donating to charities should be done by going directly to the home page. Avoid suspicious domains that lack legitimacy. Research suspicious domains and check who owns these. Report a scam, in case you are able to detect one.

Phishers and Fake Donation Sites: Another Red Flag

While some phishers use fake donation sites to get money, others use it to get more than just that. Remember that a genuine charity is not going to require your SSN number or your birthdate to make a donation. Always check for the information sought from phishing scammers looking to steal your identity and report a scam to prevent others from falling into the trap.

Check BBB Ratings

Use the Better Business Bureau website Give.org to detect charity accreditation and credibility.  While looking to make a donation, check these factors before opening your heart and your wallet for a “cause.”