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Security precautions to take

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While your business might have other people’s needs at heart, online scammers try to take advantage of people’s generosity.

Adrien Gendre, North American CEO at Vade Secure, believes businesses or individuals that donate to charity via gift card are at risk of being scammed. He said a scam that’s on the rise is people or businesses being asked to purchase gift cards from nearby stores and provide the codes to scammers posing as charities. He says to avoid donations like this where almost nothing can be tracked.

Additionally, Gendre says to look out for well-designed email and website scams. If you receive an email soliciting donations that appears to be from a legitimate source, double-check the sender’s email address and accompanying website to ensure you’re not being duped by a minor change to the web address.

“Go on Google, type the brand, find the website from Google, and compare the URL,” Gendre said when describing how to verify a website’s legitimacy. “That’s the easiest trick.” Compare the two websites and URLs side by side to determine if the email sent to you is fake.

It’s also important to understand the complexity of some scams. When it comes to email cons, studies suggest that scammers select days of the week to send phishing emails based on when people’s inboxes are busiest. Don’t fall into a trap because you’re hurried on a busy day.

According to Gendre, the No. 1 red flag of a scam is someone trying to rush you into donating. There’s never a reason why you or your business would need to quickly donate. If someone tries to pressure you to donate over email or the phone, it’s a good idea to take a step back and question the legitimacy of the organization.

Before doling out cash donations (or donations of any kind), make sure the charity is legitimate. You want to work with legitimate nonprofit organizations rather than hastily donating to an organization that might not even exist.

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