Who’s Getting Your Money? 5 Signs a ‘Charity’ Is Really a Scam

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Many Americans make it a point to assist victims of natural disasters, donate to fight diseases and give money to help veterans.

But their generosity is also noticed by scam artists, who want a piece of that action.

The Federal Trade Commission gives these red flags that a charitable appeal is not legitimate:

  • The charity offers only vague information about its mission, budget and how your donation will be used.
  • It won’t provide proof that your donation is tax-deductible.
  • It may use a copycat name that closely resembles a well-known, reputable organization.
  • It may thank you for making a pledge that you don’t recall making.
  • It uses high-pressure and emotional appeals to get you to donate cash immediately.

You can make sure your generosity benefits the right people by carefully researching a charity before you give.

Find out whether the charity is registered to solicit in your state, and check its record at websites like Give.org, CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org and GuideStar.org.

And even with legitimate charities, make sure the organization’s mission lines up with your charitable giving goals.

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