Human tragedies such as terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel and the resulting dire situation in Gaza bring out the best charitable impulses of many people, but unfortunately, they also bring out the worst impulses in scammers who use tragedies such as this to solicit contributions to phony charities.

You may be receiving phone calls, emails or text messages seeking contributions to charities that purport to be helping the victims, but unfortunately, whenever you receive a phone call, text message or email, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate.

Charities are not subject to the federal Do Not Call List so even if you are signed up for the federal Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you by phone. The problem is that whenever you are get a phone call, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a fake charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Using a technique called spoofing, the scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate charity when it is not. Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.

In addition to charity scams related to the attack on Israel and the Israeli response, you can expect to receive emails, text messages and social media posts that purport to provide important information about the situation in Israel and Gaza.  These communications may require you to click on links to obtain the information or videos.  Unfortunately, if you do click on these links you may end up downloading dangerous malware on to your phone or computer.  Never click on links from sources that you have not verified as legitimate.  As for news and information about the war in the Middle East, the best thing to do is to limit your sources to respected, legitimate news sources with which you are familiar.


Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message. Before you give to any charity, you should check out the charity with where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the legitimate charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.  Charity Navigator has a vetted list of legitimate charities helping the people of the region.

Also, don’t use your debit card when making a charitable donation because if you are scammed, the laws protecting you are far less than the laws that protect you if you are scammed when using your credit card.

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