During the winter holidays we want to share our good fortune with those in need. The challenge is to avoid charities who waste donated money or line their own pockets with it.
Charity Scams at Christmas
1. Watch out for copycat charities—those with names similar, but not connected to, the better-known charity.
2. Avoid being pressured into making an on-the-spot donation decision. A responsible charity will be just as happy to get your money tomorrow as today.
3. Be wary of heart wrenching appeals. Con artists will often strike when emotions are running high about a recently publicized tragedy. Always take the time to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.
4. Press for specifics. If, for example, a charity claims that it’s helping the homeless, ask how and where this is happening.
5. Check the charity’s website for basic info. A charity’s mission, program, and finances should be on its site. If not, you can find a report about it at Give.org.
6. Check tax-exempt status. Not every soliciting organization is a tax-exempt charity. You can check for tax-exempt status at the IRS.
7. Rely on rigorous evaluations. Charities can demonstrate trustworthiness by undergoing thorough evaluations based on the 20 Better Business Bureau Standards for Charity Accountability