Donating to fraudulent charities can lead to credit damage

When surfing the Web, it's common for consumers to receive suspicious advertisements and email messages. As a result, some individuals end up having to send dispute letters to credit reporting agencies.

For example, while it may be tempting for consumers to respond to a charity offer they receive in the mail, they may benefit from verifying the authenticity of the source before making donations.

This is because many of these email charities are carefully disguised phishing scams that are attempting to gain access to consumer information, such as bank account and PINs, Consumer Affairs reports. Individuals can verify the email by checking the information at the websites for the American Institute of Philanthropy or the Better Business Bureau.

Criminals who gain access to a consumer's financial information may be able to rack up unauthorized purchases or max out a consumer's credit cards. As a result, individuals who find these unfair charges on their credit reports may need to contact a credit lawyer.

A credit repair organization may help consumers draft dispute letters, so that these unwarranted charges don't go on to further harm their credit scores.