How Can Charity Scams Lead to Identity Theft in Los Angeles?

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Though it may seem egregious, many people can have their generosity taken advantage of by thieves and scammers. Though you thought you were donating to a reputable charity, in reality, you may be the victim of a scam. Not only does this mean a fake organization has your money, but they may also have your personal information. As such, you can become a victim of identity theft, requiring the assistance of a Los Angeles, California identity theft lawyer to help you recover. Understanding what these charity scams are and how thieves gather your information is critical to protecting your identity.

What Are Charity Scams?

Charity scams occur when someone creates a fake organization or causes to take advantage of the generosity of others. Generally, these schemes arise around the holiday season, as people are generally in a giving mood. Additionally, these scams increase in popularity following natural or humanitarian disasters.

These individuals often create fake organizations or name their scheme something very close to an established and reputable charity. For example, following an earthquake in a foreign country, you may think you are giving to “Habitats for Humanity,” when in reality, you are donating to a fake organization like “Homes for Humanity.”

How Can My Information Be Compromised?

Though you may be devastated to learn that you donated money to a fraudulent organization instead of a cause that will use the money for good use, it’s necessary to understand that your information is also at risk. This is because you often need to provide personal details when donating, like your full name, address, phone number, and email.

Similarly, these scammers will ask for information like your checking account for the donation. Once they have all this information, they can commit fraud and steal your identity.

What Can I Do to Avoid Being a Victim?

When you’re feeling generous and want to give back to your community and those in need, it’s imperative to understand what you can do to protect yourself and your funds to ensure those who need help can benefit.

If you receive a phone call from an individual with a charitable organization asking for a donation, it’s critical to verify the cause before providing information or funds. Ask for the full name, phone number, and website to determine if the cause is legitimate. Additionally, if you feel pressured by any means to donate immediately or the individual refuses to provide verifiable information, it could be a scam.

If you receive an email or visit a website for a charity, it’s necessary to determine whether or not the website is legitimate. Unfortunately, scammers can duplicate or clone websites to make them look almost identical to the website of the actual charity. As such, look for spelling mistakes, formatting issues, or difficult navigation, as these are signs the website is a scam. Additionally, if the only way to donate is to wire money or provide banking information, this could also be a sign that the website is not legitimate.

In the event you believe your information was compromised because of charity scams, understanding what you can do in these instances is critical. Generally, the first thing you should do is connect with an experienced attorney. At Los Angeles Legal Solutions, our team will work with you to reclaim your identity if your generosity is taken advantage of. Connect with us today to learn more.

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