December is the season of giving. We spend big bucks on gifts for kids, friends and family, but we also spread kindness to those in need.
Throughout the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays, millions of people dig into their wallets to help local charities or spread joy to children who just want a toy for Christmas.
While you’re thinking about what charity or cause to support this holiday season, we’re here to remind you to remain vigilant against fraudsters who want to take advantage of your generous heart this holiday season.
Here are some chilling statistics on charity scams
- Americans lost over $1.6 billion to charity fraud in 2021, with a median loss of $1,000 per individual, according to the US Federal Trade Commission’s data
- Brits reported losing 2.3 million between Jan and Nov 2022, a 44% increase from last year’s figures, according to the UK’s Fundraising Regulator
- Australians reported over 600 charity scams received via phone, social media and emails between Jan and Sept 2022, with losses exceeding $336,000, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch
Fraudsters will always prey on the goodwill of individuals to dupe them out of money, and even data. To ensure that scammers don’t exploit your generosity this festive season, take a look at Bitdefender’s tips for safe giving:
- Always research new charities and organizations. If you’re ever in doubt or the details don’t add up, look for established, registered charities. You can also check online for bad reviews and scams linked to the organization.
- Be wary of unsolicited phone calls from individuals claiming to be from a charity, and don’t respond to unsolicited emails or texts offering guaranteed prizes in exchange for donations
- Never respond to messages or individuals that ask you to make charitable payments via gift cards, crypto, wire transfers or peer-to-peer payment apps. You can never reverse these transactions if they turn out to be a scam
- Try to remain calm and don’t fall for overly sentimental claims by unknown individuals who seek to rush you into a decision
- Remain vigilant against fake websites and social media profiles that impersonate well-known charities and fundraisers. Look for grammar mistakes and misspellings
- Never make donations over the phone or offer your personally identifiable information. Head to the official website of the organization instead and do your research
If you’ve fallen victim to charity scams this Christmas, contact your financial institution and the police.
Let us take care of your devices this holiday season with a comprehensive all-in-one security suite for a scam-free Christmas.
Sit back and enjoy quality time with your friends while we protect the digital you, your money and privacy with plenty of handy features:
- Real-time protection against cyberthreats (trojans, worms, viruses, zero-day, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, exploits) on Windows, Android, iOS and macOS
- Cross-platform Password Manager and Premium VPN with unlimited traffic for your privacy
- Anti-phishing module that detects and blocks sites disguised as legitimate to steal your credentials or assets
- Anti-fraud filtering system that notifies you of potential website scams
- Dedicated browser – Bitdefender Safepay (for Windows only) – to keep your online shopping and banking transactions private
- Chat Protection for instant messaging apps on Android-enabled devices
- Identity theft protection, depending on your location and chosen plan