A charity or non-profit organization requesting money might seem innocent at first, but sadly, scammers have started pretending to be charities and are hoping to get your money. Here is some information to help you make sound decisions about charitable giving:
Use a budget
Before giving to any charity, ask yourself: What’s my realistic budget for charitable contributions? What really inspires me and how can I make the greatest impact?
In order for the donor to receive a tax deduction for a donation, the charity must be a qualified 501(c)3 organization. The IRS has a searchable database of charities where you can verify that the organization holds this status.
Make sure it’s really a charity
The Better Business Bureau’s The BBB Wise Giving Alliance provides a national-level seal of approval with its Standards for Charity Accountability. If some standards are not met, consumers will see that in the charity’s listing.
Charity Navigator and Guidestar are two online sources of information about the structure and performance of many nonprofit organizations.
Don’t give donations to telemarketers.
Never make a donation to a telephone solicitor. The solicitor might not even be legitimate. Telephone charity scams use names similar to those of well-known organizations, or they may say they are raising money for causes that tug at the heartstrings, such as supporting military families, veterans, or police officers. In reality, your money will be used simply to profit the person calling.
Think before clicking a link
As social media has become more popular, so have scams and misinformation. Before clicking on a link or forwarding information in an email, do some research at the sites listed above.
Mailed donation requests may also be fraudulent. Double check that the organization is legitimate by verifying that the address on the mailer matches the organization’s official address.