7 tips for giving safely to avoid getting scammed
1. Get the charity's exact name, address, and telephone number: Mistaken identity is a common problem when it comes to charities. Scammers sometimes use phony names that sound like legitimate charities.
2. Check with state charity officials: In New York and New Jersey charities have to be registered to solicit to area residents. In New York: http://www.charitiesnys.com/RegistrySearch/search_charities.jsp
In New Jersey: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/charity/chardir.htm
3. Check a charity's website: Before giving to a specific charity, check out their website to find out a charity's mission. You'll also should find out about the charities finances and programs. An excellent tool is: www.give.org
4. Don't give to telemarketers or door-to-door reps: Resist temptation to give on the spot. Get the name of the charity and check it out. Then, if you want to give to this charity, give through their website. And NEVER give a credit card or bank account number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
5. Don't respond to email solicitations from charities: If you want to give, check the charities background, go to their website, and donate there.
6. Watch out for tell-tale signs of a scam: Watch for solicitors that use high pressure tactics, ask you to wire money or for cash donations, request your credit card or bank account number over the phone, won't give specific information on charity's programs, and won't provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
7. Report fraud: If you think you've been solicited by an organization that is illegally claiming to be a non-profit, you can report it to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission 1-877-FTC-HELP or through their website: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/