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How to stay clear of scams on Giving Tuesday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s time to give back now that two of the year’s busiest shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are over. Dec. 1 is #GivingTuesday.

It’s a day when people around the world are encouraged to show kindness and generosity. For many that means donating to a charity, but how do you know your money is going to the right place?

In 2019, Americans gave nearly $450 billion to charity. With that amount of money at stake, scammers try to cash in too, with elaborate ploys to take advantage of your goodwill.

There are some simple ways to make sure your money is doing the most good.

  • Consumer Reports says to be on the lookout for “soundalike” charities. They might be trading on the reputation of a recognized charity. You can go to CharityNavigator.org or CharityWatch.org for reviews and rankings so that you can feel confident you’re picking a worthy group.
  • The Federal Trade Commission also encourages giving wisely by searching online, checking the charity’s official website and then checking it against trusted organizations like BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar or looking it up on your state’s charity regulator at nasconet.org.
  • The AARP also encourages people to walk away if there is pressure to give right away. A legitimate charity will welcome your donation whenever you choose to make it. Another red flag is a “thank you” for a donation you don’t remember making.
  • Always be wary of requests for payment by cash, gift card, or wire transfer. Those are scammers’ favored payment methods because they are difficult to trace.

If making a monetary donation feels too risky, you can also consider giving your time. Groups like Volunteer Match and Points of Light can help you locate virtual and in-person opportunities near you.


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