It can hardly have escaped anyone’s notice, front page news and rightly so; the current geopolitical climate is uncertain, unsteady, and will likely remain that way for some time.
One thing is for certain – the scammers won’t stop because something in the world changes. Indeed, just like with COVID-19, many have seen an opportunity and redoubled their efforts; some are even using current events in order to target vulnerable people – as well as those who try to help.
Some of the biggest scams we’ve been seeing recently are related to donations and requests for help for current ongoing events.
Unfortunately, some of these “charities” have been fraudulently set up in order to redirect funds from where they’re needed, straight into the pockets of scammers. Before making a donation to any cause, we would recommend first verifying the details of the charity you intend to donate to.
Even with the best of intentions, people are being tricked every day into thinking they are donating to a cause, only to eventually find out that their money has instead gone directly to a scammer or fraudulent “charity”.
We’ve a few tips for making donations:
• Be careful of clicking donation links on social media sites.
• Don’t click links in emails directly soliciting donations.
• Visit the Charity’s website directly.
• Look at when they were founded and their information transparency.
• Check with the gov.uk website – Every UK charity needs to be registered here by law.
• Make donations through a well-known platform, like JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving, or directly on the charity’s official website (check before donating).
• Many banks and financial institutions like PayPal also offer the option to allow you to donate directly to legitimate causes if you wish.
• Avoid entering your details into any suspicious sites.
We’d all love to think that no one would stoop so low as to take money that’s intended for a charity, but the unfortunate fact is that it does happen – and with the internet, it’s even easier for scammers and fraudsters to make themselves look like the real deal. Remember that just because something looks like it’s legitimate doesn’t necessarily mean it is – scams are becoming more and more sophisticated every day.
Stay alert, and if you’re concerned you or someone you know may have been a victim of a scam, contact your bank or financial provider, or speak to Action Fraud for advice.