Tis the season to give...
Use these guidelines to spot potential charity scams so that you can determine where best to give your donation.
Charities and fundraisers use the phone, face-to-face contact, email, the internet (including social networking sites), and mobile devices to solicit and obtain donations. Naturally, scammers use these same methods to take advantage of your goodwill. Regardless of how they reach you, avoid any charity or fundraiser that:
•Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
•Won't provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
•Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
•Thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
•Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
•Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
•Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
•Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.
You can find more tips about making safe charitable donations at Consumer Information.