It is the season of giving and while the majority of charitable requests are legitimate, it is important to remember there are some scammers out there who try and take advantage of the good will of others. A 2022 AARP survey found that 39% of U.S. adults say they had received a charity request that seemed fraudulent. The following are a few tips to help make sure that your donation is benefitting the intended cause:
- Do your research. Be wary if the charity fails to provide information about finances. Many reputable charities will provide the information up-front or if requested.
- Never give payment information to an unsolicited caller.
- Give locally to organizations you know do meaningful work in your community.
- Ask the solicitor how much of the donation will go to the charity and how much goes to the solicitor.
- Ask for a registration number of the solicitor and/or charity.
- Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. These similar sounding names are intended to confuse those who give on a regular basis.
- Do not pay in cash, donate by credit card, when possible.
- Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages. Instead, go directly to the organization’s known website or call to make a donation.
- Make a plan for yearly giving and contact those organizations directly when you are ready to give.
Before you give, visit www.checkthecharity.com to verify the charity is authorized to solicit donations in Colorado. Additional charity watchdog sites include www.charitynavigator.org and www.give.org. If you don’t have access to the internet, call the AARP ElderWatch at 1-800-222-4444, option 2, to speak with a volunteer specialist who can help check the charity for you.