How to Spot Fake Charity Collections Scams in India

Published by Maharudra Walke on

fake charity collections scams in india
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Have you ever been urged to donate to a charity and then wondered if it was the right thing to do?

Fake fundraising has become a growing trend in India, where the public is cheated of their charitable share while the required funds are diverted to the wrong channels.

These can be door-to-door canvassing and internet-based calls, street collections during disasters, etc.

Thanks to Malta’s campaign and initiatives, anyone who only wants to donate their money to charity can recognise the scammers’ tactics and avoid them.

Here, the author offers the user concrete advice on how to recognise a fake donation scam and advice based on real-life situations in India.

The growing threat of fake charity fundraising scams in India

Fraudsters who collect donations take advantage of people’s good nature.

Such scams can be door-to-door campaigns or people asking for money on the street, as well as sophisticated internet campaigns.

The problem is a vice that goes beyond the urban factor and also penetrates into rural areas.

Very often the criminals pose as representatives of bona fide charities, making it almost impossible for an ordinary citizen to distinguish between the real and the fake appeals for donations.

However, they often use disasters and crises, pandemics to gain access to more people as humanitarian instincts are heightened.

Case Study: The Chennai Flood Relief Scam

The Chennai city floods in December 2015 was a great example of how most Indians helped the people of Chennai by donating food and clothes.

This naturally attracted the fraudsters who managed to gain the trust of the people thanks to the goodwill the company had been building for years.

In other cases, they assumed the identity of various charities and asked for money by posting on social media, making phone calls and going door-to-door.

Unfortunately, numerous donors who gave their money with the intention of helping the victims of the floods never forwarded their donations to the intended recipients.

This case shows how quickly people can be manipulated in the wake of their emotional state, especially in times of disaster when donations are at their highest.

The consequences of falling for fake charity scammers

However, one becomes a victim of fake charity scams not only in financial terms, but also in other respects.

It causes the public to lose trust in other unscrupulous individuals who claim to be in charge of certain charities but are in fact fraudsters who should not be given a chance to receive funds from the public.

It also diverts resources away from the beneficiaries and exacerbates the problems the charities are trying to solve.

The Emotional Toll

Anger, shame and guilt are among the negative emotions that victims of fake charity scams go through.

They may feel let down by charities and no longer want to trust another charity.

It is clear from this that negative attitudes have a lasting impact on the philanthropic sector and reduce the ability of legitimate charities to receive the support they need.

The psychological loss is felt most keenly by those who have a high level of altruism and a strong need to help others, and who may have been victimized and used by the perpetrator.

How to Spot Fake Charity Collection Scams in India

Identifying fake charity scams requires vigilance and knowledge. Here are some practical tips to help you avoid falling victim to these scams.

Who is Behind the Charity?

The first thing you should do is find out about the organization.

To be on the safe side, it is always right to check the authenticity of a particular charity.

Use only official sources, make sure of the legitimacy of the website’s activities and read feedback from other donors.

Credible organizations are usually recognized by the state and have the necessary paperwork to provide information about the organization and the money it spends.

It is also important to check the quality of the funds. It is recommended to ask the customer for photo ID and proof of registration.

Genuine charity workers should therefore have no problem providing such details.

I once experienced a man who came to my door and asked me to donate to an orphanage organization.

After all, the person had the right justification for their request and even presented pictures of children in need.

But they refused to provide their organization’s registration and identification numbers when I insisted, and they left almost immediately.

This incident has made many people realize how important it is to check the credibility of the organizations that receive donations.

What Are They Asking For?

You can’t be too careful, and it‘s a good starting point to be wary of “aggressive sales tactics”.

Unfortunately, it’s a common trick of these people to exploit the element of time and put psychological pressure on you. Spend some time thinking about the request.

Ask for more details about how your contribution is needed and how it will be used.

Reputable organizations provide information on their website about what the donation will be used for.

It could be a warning sign if the information provided is not clear or contains contradictory information.

In a world shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are looking forward to receiving donations for equipment.

Time and time again, people have called me asking for immediate funds to purchase medical equipment.

While some came up with clear and specific strategies as well as realistic and manageable costs, others lacked such thoughtful strategies and seemed only interested in cash.

When Are They Collecting Donations?

Timing is a norm that must be observed when observing communication.

There are always people who use the moment of a disaster in a society or country to solicit donations.

However, genuine charities also seek donations at such moments, so you need to make sure of their legitimacy.

Other types of scams are also often associated with certain times of the year.

You should make the same plea especially before holidays or events that are obviously a strategy of scammers.

I remember receiving many appeals for donations especially during the festival of Diwali, most of which stated that the money was for needy children.

Further evaluation revealed that some of these were genuine organizations with previous experience in organizing festive events, while others were recently established and not very clear.

Where Is the Money Going?

There is no plausible way to ensure that users are not ripped off by websites offering their services or products.

Therefore, it is necessary to demand financial accountability.

Check various legitimate organizations to find out how they spend their money: reputable charities have a detailed report on how they have spent the funds.

If they are reluctant to disclose this information, you should not trust them.

Look for legacies of such practices by searching for traces of previous projects and how they were spent.

Genuine charities always have records of their activities, especially their financial status.

It is a common practice to believe an organization that claims to build schools for needy villages.

On their website, you will find written details and some pictures of projects they have carried out.

However, another organization with a similar cause did not have such documentation and answered my questions about their previous work. This one started to help

Why Do They Need Your Donation?

The essence of these findings is quite simple – you have to understand the cause.

Before donating, one should properly understand the charity or cause and how the money donated will be useful.

Scammers who call and email appeal primarily to the heart by telling sob stories that are rarely accompanied by detailed information about how the funds will be used.

Determine the level of need that is required.

The fact that most charities are time-sensitive should not blind you to the actual need and how the charity plans to meet it.

The secretary of one charity I know was approached by representatives of an organized group claiming that they were simulating providing emergency medical assistance to a specific population.

Their appeal was quite emotional, but their questions about the medical staff and future strategy were difficult to answer. This aroused suspicion and my friend rightly declined to donate.

How Are They Collecting Donations?

It is recommended not to accept cash as a donation.

Digital payments or checks that allow for tracking and contain proof of previous payments to the recipient.

Fraudsters like cash as this medium cannot be traced back to its source.

Pay attention to the security methods used when paying for the donation over the Internet.

Make sure the website you are visiting requires a secure connection by looking for the “https” in the link you are passing the information through, and refrain from passing such information through insecure means.

I once almost fell victim to a website that required a direct bank transfer and offered no more secure forms of payment.

Fortunately, when I typed in the name of the site, I received a number of comments indicating that the site was a scam and that I should avoid it.

Avoiding Fake Charity Scams

Cross-checking or confirmation is a very important process.

It is recommended to verify the authenticity of a charity organization using other sources.

Verify the information on websites approved by the government and other legal bodies, as well as independent charities and against the reviews of other donors.

This will inform the public and prevent them from being scammed by such organizations.

Reports of suspected scams will help identify other victims that may exist.

If you have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact the local police and the numerous online platforms where people report the existence of people who turn out to be scammers.

Certainly, one of the most effective prevention strategies is to educate yourself and other people about some of the most popular scams. Stay up to date and pass on the relevant information to friends and relatives.


Fundraising scams are rampant in India and measures are being taken to justify a well-written analysis.

These six W’s are: Who is asking for your donation, what is being asked for, when, where, why and how is the money being asked for? With this kind of information, people can avoid being scammed.

Again, real charities are open and answer all your questions because they are not hiding anything from you. Your charitable efforts should reflect this. So do not be hasty and give your money to the wrong organization.

Do you remember a charity scam you or someone close to you has encountered recently? Tell us below in the comments section some of the measures you have taken to ensure safety and give others the same. If you have learned anything from this article, please share this article on your social platforms to raise awareness about fake fundraisers in India. This way, the problems can be solved together and help is likely to get to the people who deserve it.


How can I verify the legitimacy of a charity in India?

Check the charity’s registration status, look for official websites, read reviews, and ask for identification and proof of registration from representatives.

What are common signs of a fake charity scam?

Common signs include high-pressure tactics, vague information, reluctance to provide financial details, and a lack of transparent reports or past work evidence.

Are cash donations safe?

Cash donations are riskier because they’re untraceable. Prefer digital payments or cheques, which offer a paper trail and are more secure.

Why do scammers target times of crisis?

Scammers exploit crises because people are more likely to donate quickly without thorough checks, driven by emotional appeals and a sense of urgency.

How can I ensure my online donation is secure?

Ensure the website is secure (look for “https” in the URL), use secure payment methods, and avoid giving out personal information over unsecured channels.

Categories: Beach

Maharudra Walke

I am a seasoned traveler with over 10 years of experience in beach vacations, water activities, solo travel, and villa stays.


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