How to Avoid Charity Scams

How to Avoid Charity Scams this Christmas Season

Christmas is the time of year when many people decide to give generously to charities. Unfortunately, there are a number of groups that prey on peoples’ spirit of giving, which means you should be extra diligent when making donations this time of year. The Federal Trade Commission has provided some useful advice for consumers in order to help them avoid becoming the victim of scam artists.

The first thing people should do is research any organization that solicits donations in an effort to find out if it is legitimate. Sites such as Charity Navigator provide good information on different charities, including the percent of funds used for administrative costs vs. helpful programs. Donors can also visit the IRS website in order to determine whether an organization actually has non-profit status.

Individuals need to be especially cautious of solicitors that claim to be seeking donations for veterans, police officers or other public servants. That’s because scam artists often prey upon emotions when asking for donations for “heroes” who risk their lives to protect others. Checking with a local police department or the Department of Veterans Affairs can help consumers determine whether or not an organization is actually legitimate.

Finally, checking with the Nevada Attorney General is also a good way to let people know if others have reported being ripped off by a particular organization. In some cases, calling this office could also provide officials with information that would be helpful in prosecuting those responsible for perpetrating charity scams as well.