Fake Charitable Organization Scams - How to Recognize Them and What to Do

Fake Charitable Organizations - How to Recognize Them and How to Report Them

If you received an email, letter or phone call from a charitable organization (such as someone claiming to represent the Red Cross, United Way etc.,  and it instructs you to wire, Western Union or MoneyGram money someplace - don't believe it!  Reputable charitable organizations would never instruct anyone to use those methods to pay any bill or carry out a financial transaction, particularly with an overseas bank or agency.

Here are some examples of these scams.

How to Recognize a Fake Charitable Organization

Let's look at some actual situations, experiences and in some cases, emails people received and see how we can spot that they are scams.

Sample Charitable Organization Scams


If you receive a call from this number or any group that claims to represent an organization, take down their information, including the contact's name, phone number, etc. Do NOT give them any personal or financial information, especially not a credit card, checking or bank account number, passport number, etc.

Next, look up the direct phone or email address for the person, group or organization they claim to represent and call them , as we did.  Ask them if this group represents them.  In some cases, they may well be legitimate, but you won't know if you don't check on them first.

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!

How to Report a Fraudulent Organization or Business Proposal

In the United States contact:

U.S. Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
1800 G Street, NW
Room 942
Washington, DC 20223

Phone: (202) 4355850

Fax: (202) 4355031

Or contact the local U.S. Secret Service Field Office.


Contact the Foreign Commercial Service (FSC) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If there is no FCS office, contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office.

For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.



Summer allergies  air filter