You turn on your TV, the radio or your computer and sooner or later, you’ll run into an “Ebola” story. The news caused an uproar and people everywhere expressed their fear. However, while this is a serious health concern, others see this as an opportunity to make money. Recently, fake charities and bogus fundraisers emerged, making phone solicitations supposedly to help with Ebola. But before you let your good intentions get the best of you, it’s best to do a little research.
To help you recognize a phone scam, the Better Business Bureau pointed out tips to help you avoid falling victim to this phone scam:
- Verify if the charitable organization is legit. Go to give.org and type in the name of the charity.
- If you want to get involved, choose the organization that shares updates for transparency. It gives assurance that the organizers are being honest about how the money is being used.
- Practice healthy skepticism with solicitation calls that started after the news on Ebola spread out. Be warned that scammers are likely to take advantage of the situation.
- Be suspicious of organizations you’re not familiar with. Look up their information online and read the comments. You should be careful about who you share your credit card information with.
- Do not assume that your donation is tax deductible. And as always, read the fine print especially about credit card or any other fees.
- It’s always best to give to people you know. It is safest when you personally know who you are helping.
This is only one example of scammers riding the wave of a popular news item, in the past we have reported scams related to hurricane relief and things like ice bucket challenge. Scammers use these popular news items in order to appear more legitimate, so be always on a look-out for these type of scams.
If you are contacted by a phone scammer, submit a complaint to the FTC. Be sure to include the scammer’s complete information. Report the phone scam to www.callercenter.com too, and spread the word. While most of us may recognize the scam right away, others may not so it helps when you share the info and help them detect a phone scam.