KEEP YOUR MONEY!
Yes, I mean that as a command.
In this column, I will be focusing on ways to keep your money in your pocket…and out of the pockets of others. Saving money on your taxes is my specialty, but this being the first column I wanted to make you all aware of one of the newest scams that is running rampant. I am sad to say that there are people/vultures taking advantage of those who want to help in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting. They are calling people to get them to donate money for the victims and their families. Most of these ‘charities’ are a scam. If you are donating to this cause, please make sure you do so through a trusted source. How do you know if it’s a trusted source? Ask yourself, have I heard of this charity before? Have others I know heard of it? If you haven’t heard of it, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a legitimate charity; but may I suggest that you give to one that you have heard of before. As you will want to make the most of your dollars, search for charities that give a higher percentage of their money to their cause. There are quite a few that only support their founders and give less than 10% to those they claim to support. In the spirit of Keep Your Money, make sure your donations are to an IRS approved 501 (c)(3) institution. This can be done through your church, the Red Cross, Humanitarian Aid Foundations and many other recognized organizations. If you make a donation to an online crowd funding site or to someone over the phone, you not only run the risk of it being a scam; but it will also may not be deductible on your taxes.
What can you do to help avoid these scams?
1. If you are in doubt whether they are legitimate, DO NOT give them any money. Go to their website and donate there. The people on the phone should not care if you donate online or over the phone. Make sure that the organization’s website is a ‘.org’ or a ‘.com’. Make sure that you are not redirected to another site.
2. If you feel that it is a scam, report the number to the police and post it on your social media that you received a scam call. Often times they are calling large areas together. If you got the call, your neighbors probably will too. If they leave a message, don’t call back. They are often in other countries and it will only serve to increase your phone bill.
3. Share this column or some other column that relates to this new scam. Get the word out so that others do not give their money to someone’s scam instead of the actual victims’ families.