‘Tis the season to be generous. But, when you donate to non-profits, make sure your hard-earned money goes toward its intended cause.
Additionally, with the recent fires and other natural disasters, law enforcement is seeing an increase in “disaster charities,” whether they ask for money in person, or online (i.e. “gofundme” pages).
Here are some tips to make sure you are not being defrauded when donating to charities:
1.Thoroughly vet the entity you are considering donating to. Many charity names are similar to actual organizations, and it can be difficult to differentiate.
2.Never feel compelled or forced to donate on the spot, whether it’s at your front door, or in front of a supermarket, or over the phone. Ask for a contact name and number you can call them back at. Research the contact information they provide.
3.A reputable organization will not ask for donations via gift card, wire transfer, or cash only.
4.If an organization says the donation is “tax deductible,” you can verify their claim using the IRS’ tax exempt organization search: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search