AARP Virginia Fraud Alert: Charity Scams

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Provided by AARP Virginia

Americans are a giving people. In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic that crippled the economy, Americans still contributed nearly half a trillion dollars, according to the Giving USA Foundation. Unfortunately, some of those funds went to criminal scammers, who capitalize on donors’ goodwill to line their pockets.

Many such frauds involve faux fundraising for veterans and disaster relief. Scammers know how readily we open our hearts and wallets to those who served and those rebuilding their lives after hurricanes, earthquakes or wildfires. Here are two charity scam red flags to be on the lookout for:

  • Anyone putting pressure on you to give right away. A legitimate charity will welcome your donation whenever you choose to make it.
  • Requests for payment by cash, gift card or wire transfer. These are criminals’ favorite ways to get paid. Know that any request to pay a debt or obligation by gift card is a scam.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit or call the dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.


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