Every year during the Holidays, people look for ways to give gifts- not just to family & friends, but to those less fortunate; it’s the Spirit of the Season. Unfortunately, some of the charities out there don’t help people as fully as they claim- or sometimes not at all. As if that isn’t enough, bogus organizations take advantage of people by stealing personal information from people who think they’re donating to a legitimate cause.

This doesn’t mean you can’t give this holiday season, it just means a little extra caution is in order. Here are some tips for giving during the holiday season without getting taken.

  • Verify the charity is legitimate. Before you donate, do some digging.
  • Steer clear of pop-up charities. A pop-up charity is anything but charitable. If you come across an organization that seemingly appeared out of the blue, refrain from sharing personal information with it.
  • Be careful with digital donations. Check that the site is secure before submitting any credit card information. Simply look for “https” instead of “http.” Also, instead of clicking on a link in an email, go to the website directly.
  • Avoid phone and door-to-door solicitors. If people call you or knock on your door, ask for the charity’s website or mailing address instead of donating right then and there.

It feels good to be in a giving mood during the holidays, and with a little leg work to look into the legitimacy and practices of the charity, your donation will help others feel good, too.