Let’s face it, some people are just jerks. There are actually people in this world that would like to steal the money that you designate to charities! These people will eventually get what’s coming to them, but until that happens make sure your charity money goes where it belongs by taking these precautions.
Don’t Give Cash All legitimate charities will be happy to take your check and send you a form for the tax deduction. If they only want cash, don’t give them a dime.
Don’t Be Pressured Anyone that simply cannot wait for a donation while you check out their organization is most likely committing charity fraud. If they try to pressure you into donating, stay as far away from them as possible.
Say No to Telemarketers You should never give your credit card information, checking account number, or any other personal information to telemarketers. For all you know, they’re just a scam-artist using the good name of a charity to take your money. If you want to give to the charity that you’re being asked to give to, look up their phone number on the internet, and initiate the call yourself.
Avoid Internet Appeals There are a lot of appeals on the internet for people who are gravely ill and need your help, but unfortunately a lot of them are just scams. Before even considering giving any money to a situation such as this, independently confirm that it is indeed a real case of someone actually needing help. Confirming the situation is real can be quite a task if the individual’s far away, so you might be better giving to someone who needs help in your area. These people are out there, you just have to find them.
Ignore Vague Appeals You should expect specific information as to where the money goes. Don’t accept vague appeals such as “the money goes to the schools.” If the appeal is vague and has no real details, don’t give them any money!
Do Your Homework Look up the charity online and make sure they’re legitimate. They should have some sort of website and show up on charity review sites. You can also check with the IRS to see if the charity is real or not. All established charities will register for the IRS, if they haven’t registered with the IRS, there might be something fishy about the charity. You can see what charities have registered with the IRS at IRS.gov
Beware of New Organizations If the charity’s brand new, they really don’t have a track record yet. Be very carefully when giving to new organizations. Look at the people involved and the work they’re doing before giving any money.
Report Abuses If someone attempts to defraud you through a charity scam, contact your state attorney general’s office and your local Better Business Bureau. You’ll be able to find these phone numbers in your local Yellow Pages.
Do Give – It might seem like there’s just too much hassle in making sure your money goes to the right place, and it’s just easier not to give, but you should still do it. There are a lot of wonderful causes that could make very good use of some of your extra money.