How to avoid cyber criminals on Giving Tuesday


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Tuesday following Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday. It’s a day designed to remind people to turn intentions into actions.

However, there are cyber criminals who intend to steal money from those people. Anyone who intends to donate money needs to be careful to make sure their money goes to a legitimate cause.

It’s estimated that more than $400 billion will be given to charities this year. Requests for aid will come from everywhere.

“Know where your money is going before you make that donation,” said Mallory Wojciechowski with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

There are several ways you can do that online. The BBB has a wise giving alliance webpage that allows people to look up charities.

Charity Navigator is another good place to look. It’s an organization that evaluates non-profits in the US. The North Carolina Secretary of State also tracks charities that operate in the state, listing how much money goes into it and how much goes to fundraising and administrative costs.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said there’s a money raised to money donated threshold people should take note of.

“Below 50 percent, I think you ought to be thinking are they doing a good job with running this thing,” she said.

Marshall’s office offers a downloadable checklist to help determine if a charity meets criteria.

When donating:

  • Give to established charities
  • Avoid GoFundMe or social media requests
  • Don’t respond to emotional appeals

“Anyone pressuring you into making a donation today, that’s a red flag,” said Wojciechowski. “Any legitimate organization will welcome your donation just as much tomorrow as they will today.”

Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or texts asking for a donation. Never give charity money in the form of gift cards, wire transfer, or other ways that can’t be recovered.

“Don’t give them cash,” Wojciechowski said. “You don’t know where the money is going.”

The safest way to give is by credit card because it offers the greatest protection. Anyone thinking of giving to a charity they’ve never heard of before should ask plenty of questions.

Then, before offering them money, check out the answers they gave.

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