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Money Talk: Nov. 27, 2018

November 28, 2018

Charitable giving is a significant part of many people’s lives and budgets and individuals are often eager to give back and lend a helping hand to those in need.

Unfortunately, not every organization seeking a donation is exactly what it claims to be. If you’re not careful, you could wind up losing your well-intentioned money to a scam.

Recognizing common scam periods. While scams and other ploys can arise at any time, they often increase while emotions are running high — like near the holidays or following a natural disaster — when people let their guard down and are eager to support those in need. Such scams may request donations from you over the phone, through the mail, via email or even on social media.

They might include charity names that are very similar to legitimate charities, or even mention recent genuine emergency relief efforts. Their goal is to look as authentic as possible in hopes of tricking you.

Take your time. Be wary of any sense of urgency to donate. Scammers will try to work quickly, urging you to donate before you find any holes in their story. Authentic charities won’t push you for an immediate response, and will be happy to accept a donation at any time.

Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask for details about an organization. The charity should happily provide them. You can also find a third-party source for information such as Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

If the group that contacted you isn’t recognized as a charity by either of these organizations, you should exercise extra caution and think twice before donating.

The friends and family rule. Only use money transfers to send money to friends and family. Never send money to someone you have not met in person, and never share your banking or credit card information. Legitimate charities never will ask for donations to be sent to an individual through a money transfer service.

Be cautious of email links. Some donation requests may come through emails that house fraudulent links taking you to look-a-like websites. These websites have phony donation pages where fraudsters can capture your personal and financial information.

Instead of clicking on links in a donation request email, open a new browser window to navigate to the charity’s official website and donate there.

Trust your instincts. Don’t ignore your own concerns regarding a charity’s legitimacy and never assume you’re “just being paranoid.” If you notice any red flags or feel uncertain about the situation, don’t donate. You just might be right after all.

THE LIST

According to BuinessInsider.com, the highest-paying (annual salary) jobs for 2018 are:

1. Anesthesiologist ($269,600)

2. Surgeon ($252,910)

3. Obstetrician and gynecologist ($234,310)

4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon ($232,870)

5. Orthodontist ($228,780)

6. Physician ($201,840)

7. Psychiatrist ($194,740)

8. Pediatrician ($168,990)

9. Dentist ($159,770)

10. Prosthodontist ($126,050)

NUMBER TO KNOW

$20 million: Private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR, which owned part of Toys ‘R’ Us, recently announced they have agreed to pay $20 million to help laid-off employees.

TECH TALK

Instagram crackdown on fake accounts. Social media platform Instagram recently announced it will be cracking down on third-party apps that provide fake likes, comments and followers. Instagram officials said the “machine learning” technology will help identify accounts that use third-party services and remove inauthentic activity.

Instagram also said the third-party apps violate the company’s community guidelines and terms of use.

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