“Charity” Scams and Fakes
“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.
How to Avoid “Charity” Scams and Fakes
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.
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.
How do you check the EIN?
Go to the Reverse Lookup page here at CharityCheck101.org. Enter the EIN in the search box. Every charity and nonprofit listed by the IRS as exempt from federal income taxes is there. If it’s not a church or government unit and not in the Reverse Lookup list, it’s not a charity. Direct your generosity elsewhere!
Here’s the link: CharityCheck101.org/reverse-lookup