At the end of the year and during the holidays, people are at their most generous. We spend time with loved ones, buy gifts for each other, and give back to our communities through charitable donations. Unfortunately, scammers know this and they come out of the woodwork to try to take advantage of people’s generosity. To make sure your donations go to the purpose you want and not to line some scammer’s pocket, take these precautions.

Before you give anything, make sure to do your research on the charity or organization. It’s a good idea to donate to charities that you are personally familiar with or that operate visibly in your community. If researching online, double-check that the charity’s URL is legitimate by looking for a lock icon and an “https:” in the address bar. Copycat websites and apps will resemble a business’s brand name closely or have a URL that is similar to the real thing.

Don’t respond to unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to give. Although the cause may sound worthy of your hard-earned money, taking the time to verify an organization’s legitimacy is worth it.

Be careful of calls from charity fundraisers. Some telemarketers keep up to 90 percent of the money they collect for charities. Your money will go further if you give directly to the real charity, not to hired fundraisers. Also, scammers…

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