With the holiday season just around the corner and all the disasters that have occurred this past year, it is hard to know which charities are the right ones to give your donation to. Here are some tips that can help you tell the difference between scams and real donation campaigns:

Don’t respond to unsolicited requests over phone, text, or email.

Given the amount of phishing and social engineering in today’s world, individuals should be wary of unsolicited messages sent from strangers. If you feel that the donation may be legitimate, it’s still best to avoid clicking on any link that you were sent. Instead, you can Google the charity that has contacted you and verifies the organization’s identity before donating on its legitimate website.

Be careful of solicitations in the real world, too.

When you are out shopping this holiday season, you might see people outside of storefronts asking for money. While you to want to hear these people out and make a small donation, you should know that sometimes scammers pose as volunteers working with real organizations when making requests for donations. If you’re interacting with volunteers outside of a store, you should ask them questions that will allow them to show their affiliation with the organization they claim to represent before you give them money.

Never give cash or write out a check to an individual solicitor.

If you are writing a check, make it payable to the organization or pay via credit card.

Use online resources to verify charities.

Before donating to any charity, you should use sites like the BBB’s Give.org website or check with the Internal Revenue Service to make sure the organization asking you for money is registered as a 501(c) (3) corporation, which means your donation is tax deductible: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/.

Consider donating time or goods to local charities.

If it seems like donating to charities is a lot more work than it used to be, don’t fret. When in doubt, remember that you can always choose to donate goods or time, rather than money, to a charity that you personally know within your own community.

Charity scams are out there, but you don’t have to fall for them. Investigate organizations before you donate, don’t give in to high-pressure tactics, and donate with your credit card to make your donation more secure. The holidays are a time for giving and sharing; you don’t have to let charity scammers ruin it.

For more information about charitable giving, talk to Abacus CPAs. Contact us today at 417-823-7171 or visit our website www.abacuscpas.com! Better Guidance. Smarter Decisions.

Jenna Benton