After a national tragedy, like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, you may want to reach deep into your pocketbook to help the victims, or donate to related causes. However, before you decide to donate, you may want to confirm that you're really donating your money to a real charity rather than just giving it to a scammer.
As disgusting as it sounds, some scammers have already tried to capitalize on the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Fake donation pages set up to look like funds would go to victims or victims' families, but in reality, the money was going directly to a scammer. Authorities have already had some scam donation pages taken down.
How to Tell If a Charity Is Real
There are several resources that you can turn to find out if a charity is real. Typically though, running Google search with the name of the charity and the word "scam" is a good idea. Some rather compelling-sounding charitable causes can often turn out to be illegitimate operations used to pay the scammers' bills and expenses.
If you reached a donation page through social media, you may want to double check with the actual organization before donating. Scammers are rather adept at mimicking the look of websites and social media pages, and may have set up a fake page to bolster their credibility. Searching for the charity through Google and then calling to verify if you cannot find information on their website about the donation page you found, can not only save you from helping a scammer, you could also be helping others. Social media and other websites will generally act rather quickly when they discover scammers are ripping people off and impersonating charities.
Lastly, if a charity is real, is set up properly as a non-profit, and you're not getting anything of value for your donation, it should qualify as a tax deduction. So, it could literally pay to do a bit of homework before donating.