Real vs. fake charities


After terrible public tragedies, many people feel called to help, but you should be aware of donating to fake charities. 

Unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of moments of vulnerability and deceive donors by using their personal pain for financial gain. 

Sharane Gott, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, says, “There are scammers and skeemers who have fake charities. They have all those kinds of things that they set up just so that they can get rich. They are crooks, they’re liars, they’re cheats and they depend on you being lazy.” 

You should beware of donating to scammers… whether it be online or in person. 

“One of the things I want to tell people out there the most is do not be click happy… just because there’s a link there if you don’t know the link… you don’t trust the link.. then don’t click on it just to make you feel better,” explains Gott. 

Experts say to research the charity before donating any amount of money. 

“You want to make sure that your dollar goes to the right place not to a scam artist, not to a crook, but to a legitimate, worthy charity,” adds Gott. 

According to Gott, it’s easier to donate to charities when you trust the person or business that created them.  

“Will the money actually get to the victims… whatever you gave for.. will it actually get to the people that need it?” Gott says. “So decide how you want to give… that’s the most important thing.” 

Here are some tips the BBB offers to protect yourself: 

  • Thoughtful giving. Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable charity. 

  • Be cautious about in-kind fundraising. Organizations may raise funds to distribute in-kind assistance such as clothing, toys, etc. 

  • Government registration. Louisiana requires charities to register with a state government agency.    

If you have a scam you’d like me to report, email me at

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