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The Naughty List of Holiday Scams: Charity Scam Calls

Woman holding cell phone in front of Christmas tree; Charity scam calls

So be good for goodness’ sake … you know the line. During the holiday season, a lot of people open their hearts and wallets in the spirit of giving. In 2020, Americans donated $471 billion to charity. Perhaps we don’t want to be perceived as Scrooges, or we’re counting our blessings at years’ end and want to share with others. Regardless of the motivation, people feel most generous around the holidays and, ultimately, it makes us feel good.

With charitable giving comes both the good and the bad. While charities appreciate the influx of donated time and money, scammers know that people are in the giving spirit, and they’re ready to take advantage of your goodwill. Find out why charity scam calls made our “Naughty List of Holiday Scams” this year (you can read more about Amazon and package delivery scams here).

Charity Scam Calls

During the holidays, scammers are looking to trick others and put a damper on the holiday spirit. They know that people feel altruistic and want to spread cheer to others. Cue the charity scam calls.

In a recent survey, more than half of people believe they get more scam calls during the holiday season, and it’s no surprise that charity scam calls rank near the top of the list. Nearly 1 in 3 people reported getting a scam call relating to a charity or donation – making them the second most common type of scam call.

Making matters worse is that nearly half of all respondents said that they’re more likely to talk to an unknown caller about charities or donations during the holidays, and 42% of people said they were the victim of scam call to their mobile phone that resulted in the loss of personal information or financial loss. Some estimates predict that 21 million victims will lose $10 billion (combined) this holiday season.

As you can imagine, getting scammed can sour your festive mood.

What You Can Do …

Your time, money, and personal information are valuable. Here are a few tips to keep you protected from scam callers.

Research Before You Donate

Let’s say you answer that unknown call, and the person on the other end asks you to donate to your charity. Here are some tips from Charity Navigator, a nonprofit website that provides free access to data, tools, and resources to guide philanthropic decision-making.

First, ask who’s calling. The person calling you should promptly introduce themselves by name and state the full name of the charity they represent.

Then, ask where your donation goes. To understand a charity’s finances, ask what percentage the organization spends on its programs (mission) overall.

Finally, do your research. Even if you like what you hear about the charity’s work, Charity Navigator strongly recommends that you do your due diligence to research any charity before you give.

Download PrivacyStar App

If you’re tired of scam calls in general, you can download the free PrivacyStar app for your Apple or Android device. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, download the Scam Shield app for improved scam protection.


2021 Holiday Scam Report

Learn more about holiday scams – including charity scam calls – in our free 2021 Holiday Scam Report. Download today!

 

 

 

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