Fraud Spotlight

Double trouble: Protect your charitable gift-matching program

Many companies have charitable programs that match employee donations, supporting causes and people in dire need of the funds. Yet those contributions are also susceptible to fraud. Here’s one story of abuse and what it teaches us about how to prevent this type of scam.

Imagine you’re working at your desk in your company’s office (not at home at your kitchen table in your pajamas), and a friendly co-worker (we’ll call him Frank) strikes up a conversation. Frank asks about your recent birthday and listens intently as you describe how you celebrated. He dives deeper, asking about your best birthday party and your all-time favorite birthday present. You don’t consciously realize it, but Frank is using your name frequently and mimicking your body language. Finally, he admits he feels a bit insecure about the fact that he’s never been a good gift-giver and fears no one has fond birthday memories about him.

Suddenly, Frank’s face lights up as he seems to spontaneously realize how the two of you can help each other out. He knows of a very deserving charity that needs contributions to accomplish its important mission, and Frank would love to donate his own money to them. Even better, Frank says he wants to donate the money in your name, as a gift. And luckily enough, your mutual employer has a donation-matching program in place, so the charity can get double the funds.

All you need to do is let Frank enter your company’s donation portal using your login, so he can make his donation that your employer will then match. It’s a win for everyone: Frank will make a surprisingly generous charitable gift in your name, he’ll feel better about giving memorable gifts and a needy charity will get a donation that your employer will double.

You pause at the idea of letting Frank use the donation portal under your name, worried about letting someone else use your computer. But it’s no problem, Frank assures you, because you get to watch him the whole time. He follows a legitimate link from your employer to the donation portal, enters the name of the charity and the donation amount, and clicks “submit.” The whole thing took less than two minutes.

For full access to story, members may sign in here.

Not a member? Click here to Join Now. Or Click here to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.