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Western Union and Better Business Bureau Warn of Charity Scams During Giving Season

Dec. 5, 2013

The holidays bring out the best in people, and many charities count on end-of-year generosity from donors to meet the needs of those less fortunate. Sadly, scammers know this and prey on unsuspecting consumers who don’t do their homework when giving money to charities. Scammers solicit by phone and email, or post links to fraudulent charities on social media sites with names similar to those of legitimate organizations. In some cases, scammers even pose as legitimate charities, in one variation of the so-called imposter scam.
Western Union and Better Business Bureau launched BBB Scam Stopper to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of common scams. “We urge donors to give thoughtfully, and to be wary of scams this holiday season,” said Art Taylor, President and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “It’s important to check out a charity first, and make sure you are giving to a charity that will use your donation wisely.” BBB’s give.org has reviews of more than 11,000 charities.

Here are tips to consider when giving money to charities:

It’s best always to donate to a charity directly after confirming its legitimacy – rather than giving in response to a phone call or by clicking an email link.
Never send a money transfer to an individual for a charity. Western Union does accept donations for charities, but the money transfer must be sent to the organization, not to an individual.
Never share banking or credit card information with a person or business you don’t actually know.
Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer.
“Resist rushing. If a charity is legitimate, they’ll accept your donation any time,” said Shelley Bernhardt, Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union.

For more information visit westernunion.com/stopfraud, and to test your knowledge of scams, take the Fraud Quiz: westernunion.com/fraudquiz.

To learn more about which charities meet BBB Wise Giving Alliance standards, go to give.org.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 115,000 ATMs. In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments. For more information, visit westernunion.com.

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.

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