EIN Magic - The Fastest Way to Avoid Charity Scams

“Charity” Scams

“Charity” scammers are con artists. We show “charity” in quotes because these groups aren’t charities. They just look, sound or feel like charities. They might tie themselves to prominent causes like fighting breast cancer or helping veterans. Or jump up following earthquakes, floods, fires and other disasters. They’re a year-round plague.

“Charity” scam thievery does double duty – it steals from you and it steals from those you want to help with your donated dollars.

Charity EIN License Plate

How to Avoid “Charity” Scams

The secret to avoiding “charity” scams is simple: get and check the EIN of the group asking for the donation.

Every legitimate charity has an 8-digit or 9-digit EIN (employer identification number, looks like 12-3456789) assigned to it by the IRS. No two have the same EIN. EINs are like charity license plate numbers.

Unlike individual social security numbers, charity EINs are public information.
EIN Magic Search

How do you get the EIN?

If the group calls to ask you for money, ask them for their EIN. If they don’t give it to you right away, don’t give them any more of your time. If they email or mail you a request, look there for the EIN. If the group has a website, look there. No reputable, well-run charity will make it hard for you to get its EIN. The SeriousGivers EIN is 27-3090206.

How do you check the EIN?

Go to the EIN Magic page here at CharityCheck101.org. Enter the EIN in the search box. Every one of the 1.5 million+ nonprofits and charities registered with the IRS is listed there. If it’s not a church or government unit and not in the EIN Magic list, it’s not a charity. Direct your generosity elsewhere!

Here’s the link: CharityCheck101.org/magic


13 comments to EIN Magic – The Fastest Way to Avoid “Charity” Scams

  • Cecil Fish

    I would like to know what the percentage of donations to “Heart to Heart International” is actually used for donations and what percentage goes to administration.
    Cecil Fish

  • Marcy gehr

    Rock for Autism borrowed 1500.00 from me. Last Aug. now, they say, they have no money. How do I get my money back. Noall info about this charity lead back to their house. Phone number, address . I live in Neenah, Wi. Troy Reissman borrowed the money.

    • Edward Long

      Hi Marcy,
      Searching the database for Rock for Autism — I find no such group.
      Searching for rock autism gets four nonprofits with names similar to “Rock for Autism”. You might contact one or more of them and see if they have any information on Rock for Autism.
      Do you have the EIN for the group? That’s the quickest way to check a group’s identity.
      If they were holding themselves out as a charity or nonprofit, and are not, that’s likely fraud.
      If they’re based in WI, you might check for the name in corporate filings with the WI secretary of state.
      You might also want to pursue this with local law enforcement.
      Hoping you find this helpful,

    • Edward Long

      Replied directly to you offline.
      In our exchange, you provided the organization’s EIN. It is not a charity or a nonprofit.
      Suggested you evaluate whether this group had misrepresented itself.
      Hoping you are making progress,

  • I am the Treasurer for a UK based charity called INTERPLAST UK.Our UK Registered Charity Number is 328688.
    Interplast UK is a non-profit organisation which takes teams of medical volunteers on two-week missions in developing countries, providing free plastic surgery for conditions such as cleft lip/palate and severe burns, including acid burns to the face.

    As far as I know , Interplast UK does not have an EIN . How does one apply for one?
    Your kind assistance in obtaining an EIN would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in anticipation.

  • Harriet Morgenstern

    I have received a request for a donation from DAV (disabled veterans) but cannot find the EIN anywhere on the letter. Should I donate?

    • Edward Long

      Hi Harriet,
      I’m assuming that you don’t already know the charity. Without the EIN you know nothing about them, and have no easy way to find out if they’re even a charity. Giving to them would be like a random gift.
      If you care about disabled veteran issues, find a strong charity doing that work.
      See the Charity Sherlock video about how to find a strong charity inn three minutes or less.
      Charity Sherlock video –>
      I hope you find this helpful,

  • This charity claims to be a private charity and admits they’re not a 501(c). They say it is not worth their time to become a 501(c) charity. They say they do it on their own and don’t have any workers They say there are donations come from friends family private donations and businesses. I know that they collects a lot of money ask each of their individual dog cases are 8000 and 10,000. I also know at one point on you caring or something like that they were raising money to purchase a house. I know they are no longer doing that but wonder if this money is going towards that. Is there anyway to find out if they’re legitimate as I would like to help them even if they’re not a 501(c)?

    • Edward Long

      Since you’re dealing with a private business, and considering donating money to them, why not just ask them for their financial statements and showing of how the spend their money?
      Hoping this helps.

  • Jeff Smith

    Can’t a fake charity just give you someone elses EIN? Wouldn’t it be best to look it up and then send the money to the address listed under the EIN instead of the address they give you when they gave you the EIN? Seriously, if I was a thief running a fake charity I would give the EIN of a similar charity with a similar name to someone asking for it. Even if a person takes the time to look up the EIN, are they going to verify the address too? If you send the money to the address listed under the EIN, you ensure the money goes to the right place. It’s a shame we have to think about things like that when helping out our fellow man.

    • Edward Long

      Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for your comments.

      Couldn’t agree more that it’s a shame to have to think about double-checking an organization before giving. But, it’s a reality.

      Building on your thought, when the “charity” faker gives you the EIN, you look it up. CharityCheck101.org will show you the address of the charity. If it doesn’t match the address the faker gave you, I’d stop right there. The faker is already revealed as a liar. You can’t believe what the faker was telling you about the true cause, so you know nothing about the organization who actually owns the EIN. I wouldn’t send them money either (without more digging).

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