Fake Charities in the Wake of the Australia Wildfires

The devastating fires in Australia have become a worldwide concern, and people are looking to donate to charities aimed at helping with the crisis. Unfortunately, scam artists take advantage of such tragedies by setting up fake charities that look and sound real. The fake charities promise to send money to Australia, but at times they are merely a scam to get a hold of your hard-earned money. 

Here are some red flags on spotting a fake charity and how to find a legitimate charity for your donation.

  1. A charity that promises to donate your money to a legitimate charity is often fake. Why use a middleman?  It’s often better to donate directly to the charity that intends to make good use of the funds.
  2. A vague description of how the money will be used is usually a fake. Is the money going to be used for medical expenses? Firefighting? Evacuated families? Legitimate charities will be transparent about what the money will used for and how it will be delivered.
  3. If it is unclear who controls the money, it could be a fake. Is it the person who started a crowd-funding page? Ensure that there is a clear path for the money to reach the victims.

So, which charities can you trust?

The Better Business Bureau has a list of vetted, legitimate charities that are sending money directly to the disaster in Australia.

You can find the list here: https://www.give.org/news-updates/2020/01/08/wise-giving-wednesday-donating-to-address-the-fires-in-australia. In addition, you can conduct your own due diligence on various charities but viewing their website and reading through what they intend to do with donations.  Charities can also be verified by visiting websites such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator and even the Internal Revenue Service Business Master File.

If you have any questions on ensuring that your donations are being made to a legitimate charity, please contact any of our exempt organization experts.

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