avoid scams when making donations
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We need to avoid scams when making donations especially with the annual splurge of food and shopping for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday behind us. We can now focus on helping others with Giving Tuesday which takes place after Thanksgiving on Tuesday.  

Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 in an attempt to urge people to focus on charitable causes with their money and attention.  According to a report on Giving Tuesday, nearly $2.5 billion people in the US donated last year. 

While you are doing a noble cause don’t forget the scammers waiting to pounce on your mistakes. Scammers are known to use tactics like sending you emails, texts, or phone calls trying to convince you to donate to a worthy cause, especially during the holiday season.

According to Mark Ostrowski, head of engineering with security firm Checkpoint Research, “This is the peak of malicious traffic tied specifically to consumers.”

How to avoid scams when making donations?

Understand how they ask you to donate. 

According to Ostrowski, most organizations will not ask you to send them cash or gift cards, and neither will they ask you to wire money to them.  In case you receive any messages seeking donations in this form, just avoid it.

Don’t make a hasty decision 

Always when you decide to make donations, do not make a hasty decision. Especially when the donation is toward an organization or a cause you don’t know well. According to Better Business Bureau, responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.

Research well 

Before you decide to donate visit the website of the organization you plan to donate. Most organizations have their websites in place for you to gather information such as their mission and the specific results achieved through donations. 

You can also visit the National Association of State Charity Officials since many states require charities to register before they ask for donations.

Additionally, you can search for the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt organizations to learn more about whether they are legitimate. Check everything carefully before giving.

Ostrowski advises searching BBB and the IRS as it is helpful for consumers who want to stay clear of scams. He said, “If you have a specific organization you want to donate to, and you’re not sure if it’s legit or not, those are two really good areas of resource you can look into.” 

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