Over the weekend, I was catching up with a friend. He got a text during our conversation and stopped to look at it. It was someone requesting a charitable donation to help those hurt by COVID-19. When my friend read the text to me, there were two things that stood out immediately: the text had a pretty noticeable grammar mistake and it didn’t say what the charity was.
I immediately told my friend to just delete the text. Hearing it also made me worry that those messages are going to our members. With that in mind, I’m here to tell you some simple things to watch for to avoid being a fraud victim.
- Make sure the person asking for a donation identifies the organization they’re with. That was the biggest red flag here, it was just a generic ask for help.
- Even if it is linked to an organization, ignore it if you didn’t ask for it. You should enroll in texts to receive them. If you don’t remember saying it’s ok for the company on the other side to message you, just hit delete.
- Never send your payment information via text. If you do respond to a donation request and they ask for your credit card information through a text, STOP! It is almost certainly fraud.
- If they say they’re from a certain organization and you want to donate, visit their trusted website on your own. By going to their website on your own, it avoids clicking a malicious link. Then you know your money is going to the cause you want it to go to.
- Grammar mistakes are red flags. It’s not unheard of for legitimate texts to have a misplaced letter, but if the sentence sounds wrong read aloud, consider it a major warning sign.
Those are just a few crucial ways to identify fraud. These can also be applied to other forms of communication. At the end of the day, if you don’t ask to be contacted, it’s best to be cautious.
Do you have other tips for avoiding text scams? Let us know in the comments below!