We all watched in horror last week as the beautiful spire of Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames. I visited Notre Dame for the first time, right before I started my first year of law school, and it was awe inspiring. The fire and tragedy of the loss hit us all, and many of us want to be part of the restoration effort to rebuild this magnificent treasure.
Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, others with bad intentions know that we want to help in a time of need, and they are pouncing on our good intentions and the tragedy to steal from us.
There are several ways that scammers can use needy causes to steal from generous people willing to donate to a cause.
The first is through telephone solicitation. Thieves call posing as volunteers for a recent cause, like rebuilding Notre Dame and ask for donations over the telephone. This is not a recommended way to make a donation. You really don’t know who is on the other end of the line, and giving them a credit card number over the telephone is risky.
The second way is through crowdfunding. Scammers can set up fraudulent crowdfunding sites that say money will be donated to the cause, when in fact, the money is going in their pockets. Before choosing an organization to donate to, research the organization to confirm it is legitimate and reputable, go to the official website and don’t click on any email links, or donate the old fashioned way and send a check to the charity’s physical headquarters.
If responding to the fire of Notre Dame, or another cause that you care about, be aware that there are scammers in the world that want to take advantage of our good intentions. Avoid charitable giving scams so your favorite charity actually receives your donation.