Holiday Donations: How To Avoid Charity Scams

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Holiday Donations: How To Avoid Charity Scams
Charitable giving increases during the holidays as people look to give back or hope to save on taxes — and scammers are ready to take advantage.

'Tis the season for giving. But when you do, be sure to do your research. The Federal Trade Commission says that consumers are reporting $1.6 billion in charity scams this year. 

Scammers have been posing as police officers and as veterans, so how do you know when it's safe to make a donation to an organization?

"Unfortunately, the holidays bring the best in people, but they can also bring out the worst in people," said Kevin Scally, chief relationship officer with Charity Navigator. "Scams are taking place in the same way that other scams are happening. It can happen on the phone, through email, fake websites — and there's a couple quick things that you can do to make sure that you're getting informed when giving practical gifts and to know when you're not being deceived," said Scally.

"One way is just to be wary of lookalike names. Sometimes this could be coincidence, but oftentimes they can be done purposely for you to be deceived. You also want to make sure that you're supporting a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit." 

People definitely want to be opening up their hearts and their wallets this holiday season, but they want to make sure they're protected in the process.