It’s that time of year that many people feel most charitable. It also may make them most vulnerable to having their personal information compromised by others. Because of that, this is a great time a good time to go over some basic tips on how to donate to those less fortunate while keeping your identities and bank accounts safe.
To most people it's shocking, but depending on the method of donation, those in need of help may never see any of the effects of your goodwill and generosity. That’s because criminal organizations pose as charities in order to steal credit card numbers and other personal information. This is especially true during times when they know people are feeling generous, such as around the holidays.
Fortunately however, there are things you can do to help ensure your donation goes where it is intended. Here are three suggestions to consider:
- Before making a donation find out as much as you can about the charity.
Don't simply rely on a friend’s endorsement of a charity. You really will want to investigate a charity for yourself when you’re considering donating to it. One important consideration is to find out how much of your donation will actually go to those in need rather than to administrative costs and salaries. You can do some research like through the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator. Also check the organization’s own website, as well as any news reports and other information you can find.
- Be careful if using social media and other internet related sites if you plan on making an online donation.
Social media can often be difficult to determine if it's a trustworthy source of information about charities. It’s prudent to be wary of donation requests from a Facebook page or Twitter post. Clicking on a social media link or a link from an email could lead you into a scam and down the road to identity theft. If you plan on making a donation online, tbe sure to type in the charity’s URL carefully. A typo in the URL could lead you to an imposter site run by criminals. Also ensure the URL on the donation page begins with “https,” indicating a secure site, rather than “http.”
- If someone asks for personal information, think twice before giving it to them.
If someone asks for a donation by calling you on the phone or canvassing your neighborhood door to door it may be impossible for you to be sure these people actually represent the organization they say they do. Plus, donating over the phone or to someone going door to door may decrease the net amount you give – that call center agent or door to door solicitor is often paid rather than acting voluntarily. So instead of making a donation over the phone or at your door, ask the solicitor for information about the charity, such as its website, so you can research it and donate later, if you like. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into giving now in order to be entered into a drawing, giveaway, or simply as a convenience.
By doing a little research and using caution, donating this holiday season will more likely benefit those in need and help keep your identity and personal information safe at the same time.
We hope you have a safe and joy-filled holiday season. If you have any questions or needs be sure to call us, your local insurance experts at Fox Insurance Agency serving Portland, Beaverton, and throughout Oregon and Washington. We are always ready to assist you with your home insurance policy, auto insurance policy, and other insurance needs. You can also increase your liability protection with a personal umbrella insurance policy. Just ask our agents if your situation may benefit from a policy like this. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 to see about the other insurance products we offer.
From all of us at Fox Insurance Agency, we wish you a safe and joy-filled holiday season!