Avoid holiday scams by staying in the know
The holidays are a great time for scammers. We’re all feeling a little more generous and we want to spread some cheer, plus and I hate to say it, but it at least seems like more bad things happen at this time of the year. Mudslides, earthquakes, floods…all those things that rob people of the joy you expect to experience at the holidays. So what happens? We feel bad and we open our pocketbooks. Here is a list of things you can do to avoid being scammed and feeling like Scrooge.
If someone calls you requesting money for a charity or hits you up at the door to your favorite holiday shop, ask them for information about the charity so you can research the charity before making a decision to give. Legitimate charities give you the time and space you need to make a good decision about whether or not to donate.
You can research charities by going to http://www.charitynavigator.org/ or by visiting the Better Business Bureau’s charity rating site, Give.org or GiveWell.org.
You can check a charities tax status by going to the IRS.gov site for Publication 78.
If you are scammed by a charity, please report it so others won’t also be scammed and investigators can put a stop to it. You can report a scam by calling the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or by going online at ftc.gov/complaint.
You can sign up for scam alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.