Charity scams take many forms including soliciting funds on behalf of totally bogus charities as well as scammers who ask for donations on behalf of legitimate charities, but keep the money for themselves. Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and InfoCision, a company that uses telemarketing to solicit on behalf of charities settled charges related to InfoCision’s use of deceptive and misleading tactics to solicit charitable contributions. Even if you are on the federal Do-Not-Call list, you can still be called by charities or telemarketers soliciting on behalf of charities, however, whenever you get a phone call soliciting on behalf of a charity, you can never be sure if the call is legitimate, so you should never give your credit card or personal information to anyone soliciting a charitable contribution from you by phone.
Be very wary of telemarketers seeking charitable contributions.   Whenever you receive a telephone call that purports to be from a charity, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate.  In addition, even if the caller is a legitimate solicitor on behalf of a charity, they work on commission and some of what you donate will be going to the telemarketer.  If a telemarketer arouses your interest in a particular charity, ask the telemarketer to send you written information that you can review before making a contribution directly to the charity that you know will go entirely to the charity.
As for email and text message solicitations from charities, be particularly careful because not only can you not be sure if they are legitimate or not, it may be even worse than that.  The email or text message may contain a link or attachment that has malware that can steal the information from your computer or smartphone and use it to make you a victim of identity theft. is a great resource.  It is a free website at which you can look up any charity to which you may be considering making a donation.  Not only will tell you whether or not the charity is a scam or not, it also will tell you how much of the money given to the charity goes toward its charitable works and how much it pays in salaries and administrative costs.