DALLAS (KRLD) – Making a charitable donation using your cell phone is quick and easy. But scam artists are hard at work dreaming up new ways to take advantage of your giving mood.
Criminals are now targeting those trying to help after the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The cell phone donation process became popular in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year. Generally, those wanting to make a donation will just text a word to a five-digit number and a fixed amount, usually $10, is added to the cell phone bill and sent to the charity.
To help with Haiti relief, the American Red Cross raised $32 million that way.
With the shocking images coming out of Japan prompting many of us to give, it’s easy to fall victim to scam artists posing as charities.
Experts advise everyone to be wary of charities you’ve never heard of or organizations that contact you directly to get you to donate via texting.
Workers with CharityWatch.org say if you stick to the big-name charities, you should be okay.
The Federal Trade Commission also advises donors to give directly to a charity rather than to a group that solicits contributions on a charity’s behalf, because that group will get a cut of the donations they collect.