I’ve seen a recent trend on Tumblr is users asking for money. Most of the time it is for things like food, housing, medical needs, etc. This has become a bit problematic for me…while there are many a legitimate need out there, there are also many willing to take advantage of good intentions by using this method as a means to get money not for any actual need but rather for selfish gain. So, here’s a helpful list to avoid scams on Tumblr:
1. Never do transactions directly, including through PayPal. When you engage in a transaction like this, you leave out a non-biased third party which can intercede if it turns out to be a scam. If you believe a claim is legitimate, but they are asking for direct donations, you can direct them to one of the many free fundraising sites out there like GoFundMe or YouCaring
2. Keep an eye on how the person spends their money. If a person claims they need money for food, but frequently post expensive or unneeded purchases, it may be a sign that they aren’t managing donations the way they were meant to, or that they don’t actually need those donations. Don’t assume as the items may have been gifts or pre-owned.
3. Always question other options for getting money. If a person clearly owns several items that can be quickly and easily sold for money, ask why they haven’t considered that first. If that is their only source of entertainment, it can be understandable, but keep in mind this lesson: I have had situations on many occasions where I had no money and had rent due, or needed to buy food. I compensated by selling a DS, an XBox, several games, and at one point even a laptop. If the need is something very immediate like food, people should be willing to give something up to make ends meet. That’s an unfortunate reality of life. But not doing that doesn’t necessary indicate a lack of need.
4. Don’t think questioning a person makes you a bad person. Sympathy is great, but blind sympathy can be dangerous. If a person is asking for money, then potential donators are owed information before they hand it over. If you’re attacked for asking questions or if your questions go completely ignored, it is likely there is some dishonesty going on.
5. When in serious doubt, seek proof. A person late on rent will get a notice from their landlord. A person trying to pay medical expenses will have bills.
6. If you can’t decide, then save your money. Scam artists are very good at trying to reel you in with a sob story but the fact of the matter is, you can’t believe everything you hear. If something seems like a scam to you in any way, then turn the other way. If you still wish you can give, find an established charity and donate to them (there you have the ability to research and understand those companies since most are required to be completely transparent).
And remember the general rules of any online financial transaction - don’t give someone your credit card information or social security number directly, don’t give out personal information, see if a person is tracking and transparent about their donations and how they’re spending them, and remember that giving directly to a person is NOT tax deductible but counts as a gift - only donations directly to a non-profit organization are tax deductible. If a person claims your donation to them is tax deductible, it is likely a scam.
This post isn’t to indicate all Tumblr fundraisers are scams but many are, and many others may not be scams but are clearly not well run and may be unsafe to pour money into. Proceed with caution because while you might be saying “But I have good intentions” the money you give to scammers is money that could’ve gone to people who legitimately need help.
- Mod Dawes Sr.