The holiday season is the time of year when many people open their wallets to help the less fortunate. Millions of dollars flow to numerous charities in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. People can find charities for whatever causes they wish to help with, from funding research on specific conditions to helping animals to feeding the hungry. Unfortunately, there are many criminals willing to take advantage of the kindness of others and have created charity scams to siphon money away from the charities that are actually making a difference. Here are some methods you can use to ensure that your charity dollars are going to the right places.
Research The Charities You Consider
During the holiday season, mailboxes are full of solicitations from various charities asking you to donate money to their cause, typically by sending a check in the envelope provided or by calling a phone number and giving the representative your credit card number. However, some of these solicitations may be from fake charities or charities that spend far more paying companies to request donations than they spend on their cause. By doing your research before you decide to donate, you can avoid the charities that are going to waste your money and can focus on the charities that are doing the most good.
Avoid Clicking Links In Your Email
Now that email is a cheap way to communicate with thousands of people at a time, many charities send out emails to connect with possible donors and solicit donations for their causes. Unfortunately, clicking on a link in the email can send you to a scam website or download damaging malware to your computer. If you are interested in donating to a charity that makes contact with you by email, type in the name of the charity in an internet search engine and find the home page of the charity, which will often have a donate button prominently displayed.
Keep Records Of Your Donations
It is important to keep records of the financial and material support that you provide to charities throughout the year. You will need this information when it is time to file your income taxes for the year or if you find out that the charity you donated to was a fraud. For financial support, pay with a check or your credit card so the donation will show up on your account statement. For material support such as clothing, furniture, or cars, ask for a receipt from the charity when the donation is dropped off or picked up.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.