The holiday season is a time when many people give to charities. In particular, you will most likely be contacted by numerous people soliciting charitable contributions on behalf of organizations purporting to support the brave men and women who make up our police and fire departments. Unfortunately, many of those solicitations will be from scammers merely looking to steal money under false pretenses. Whenever you are solicited by phone, you can never be sure who is really contacting you. Even if your Caller ID indicates that the call is coming from a legitimate source, as I have mentioned many times scammers use a simple technique called “spoofing” to manipulate your Caller ID to make their calls appear to come from a legitimate source when the truth is that the call is coming from a scammer. In addition, even if you are on the Federal Do No Call List, the law permits charities to call you, however, unfortunately you can never be sure when you receive a call that purports to be from a charity whether the call is legitimate or not.
Phony charities often have names that sound legitimate and it is difficult to know merely from a solicitation whether or not the charity is a fake. Prior to giving to any charity, I suggest you first look into whether indeed the charity is legitimate or not and the best way I know to do that is to go to http://www.charitynavigator.org where not only can you find out whether the charity is a scam, but also whether or not your donation will be tax deductible, how much of your donation goes toward the charitable purposes of a legitimate charity and how much goes toward salaries, administrative costs and fund raising.
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