“Scams prey on the most vulnerable people.” - Dori Zinn Click To Tweet
The pandemic has taken an economic toll on millions of lives. People are struggling, people want to help, and others are looking to take advantage of both. Before panicking about your bills or giving to the latest charitable cause, you need to listen to this episode to make sure your money is going where you think it is.
Our guest today is Dori Zinn. Dori has been a personal finance journalist for more than a decade with work featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, CNET, Yahoo Finance, and more. Her writing covers topics like banking, investing, credit, debt, student loans, personal loans, budgeting, and overall financial literacy. But today, she is talking about charities. Which ones are legitimate and which ones are raising those red flags?
- [0:47] – Dori introduces herself and discusses her background in personal finance journalism. Her work is featured in many different avenues.
- [1:39] – Her interest grew in finance because she was originally very bad at managing her money. She started working on a budget and as she learned more, she decided she wanted to help and educate others.
- [2:58] – Where there is money, there is a scam. People want what others have.
- [3:24] – Where Dori lives in South Florida, scams pop up after hurricanes and other natural disasters. Right now, there are a lot of Covid-19 scams floating around.
- [4:50] – Both Chris and Dori recommend using Charity Navigator to research charities to give to or to check to see if a charity is legitimate. Dori also recommends Great Nonprofits, Guide Star, and Charity Watch as well.
- [6:39] – Dori believes that most people do the best they can, but there are always those who try to take advantage of the system.
- [7:40] – Sometimes the people running a donation charity like GoFundMe are not always the people who need the money. Unless you know the person personally, be cautious and ask questions.
- [8:52] – Dori recommends donating to larger organizations over individual GoFundMe campaigns because the research is easier and their paper trail of how they use the monetary donations is accessible.
- [9:55] – Dori shares an experience with GoFundMe of a friend who created a campaign for a friend. Although Dori didn’t know the person the money was being raised for, she trusted the person raising the money on her behalf.
- [11:50] – Is the charity set up to benefit a cause or a person? Research the charity, first.
- [13:18] – Is your $20 going to the CEO or is actually going to help people on the ground? So pay attention to that.
- [14:26] – Scams prey on the most vulnerable people.
- [15:01] – Ask the questions you know the answer to. If you know the answer to it, a legitimate phone call will know that information, too.
- [16:42] – If Dori receives a call from a bank or credit card company asking for money, she hangs up and calls the number on the back of her cards. Those are the numbers that will reach the right people.
- [17:08] – In some areas, due to Covid-19, most utility companies are stating that they aren’t going to shut off service if a bill is late so if you receive a call stating otherwise, double check your area’s service providers.
- [17:42] – Dori shares a scam surrounding Covid-19 testing kits and vaccines that do not exist.
- [19:10] – If you have someone come to your door claiming they are there for the census, Dori shares tips on how to make sure they are legitimate and how you can avoid a scam.
- [20:08] – Dori and Chris discuss credit repair scams, which is another example of people preying on the most vulnerable.
- [21:25] – In regards to credit repair companies, don’t pay for anything up front. Credit counseling companies will typically fit a fee into your monthly payments.
- [22:40] – Sometimes, credit card companies and banks will work with you if you explain your situation.
- [23:18] – If you can’t verify that a company exists with a simple Google search, that’s certainly a red flag.
- [24:50] – You are the only one who can prove that bad marks should be removed from your credit, so be wary of credit repair companies who can’t actually help you.
- [26:24] – Look for financial professionals that will educate you on how to fix a problem and not make the mistakes again.
- [27:15] – In the US, talking about money problems is very taboo. Most of us come from homes that didn’t talk about money and aren’t educated.
- [28:32] – The best households will talk about money with each other and their children.
Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review.