How to Recognize Illegitimate Organizations

As part of this health crisis, there are many scammers making calls and starting illegitimate fundraising. Please be cautious of them; some of your friends may even share malicious links, unaware that they are not legitimate.

It is important to take some steps to check on an organization’s legitimacy. Since illegitimate entities spin up quickly, they know it will be difficult to verify them. Do not donate over the phone, via email, or “share this with all your friends” via social media applications. Verify texts you receive are from the company and do not click on suspicious links. Do not click on solicitations for donations or support via email.

There’s a growing demand to validate company information when doing business with a company. As more business transactions are conducted online, on-site visits are often impractical. With the ease of creating fake company records and profiles, the risk of fraud has risen. There are risks for both financial and reputational losses.

For regulated entities, such as financial institutions, having company information is a requirement for account opening.

Depending on the jurisdiction and perceived level of risk this information includes:
  • location of the business;
  • occupation or nature of business;
  • purpose of the business transactions;
  • expected pattern of activity in terms of transaction types, dollar volume, and frequency;
  • expected origination of payments and method of payment;
  • articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, and business certificates.
Be aware that many scammers:
  • do not list phone numbers on their website, list a fake number, or list a number which goes to voicemail;
  • list no address or mismatching addresses;
  • do not provide 501c3 documentation;
  • do not list an email address, or list a fake one;
  • ask for urgent support and immediate electronic transfers of money through unsecured sites.