Beware of charity scams this holiday season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Beware of charity scams this holiday season

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SPOKANE, WA - Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving powered by social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring out change in their communities.

Last year, $116.7 million was donated globally to charities on Giving Tuesday. 93% of funds donated came from traditional means such as major gifts, fundraising events, personal checks and mail solicitations, but giving online and through mobile devices has grown.

While this is a time of cheer, there are scammers out there looking to make a buck off the public’s good will. In the past year, BBB Scam Tracker has received 19 charity scam reports in the Northwest.

In one instance, an Idaho woman donated $20 and a cell phone for a care package to be sent overseas. It wasn’t until after she made her donation that she realized the “charity” was actually a scam.

Before donating to a charity this holiday season, BBB recommends the following:

• Be on the lookout for name similarities. Charities with similar missions may have similar names and fraudsters are known for trying to confuse people with fake charity names that are close to the real ones. Before giving, be sure to have the correct name of the charity you want to support.

• Avoid charities that don’t disclose. Visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance to see if a selected charity meets BBB standards. BBB WGA does not rank charities but rather seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments about those that solicit their support. Evaluations are done without charge to the charity and are posted for free public access.

• Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions. The holidays bring a high frequency of donation requests. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate decision. Responsible organizations will welcome the gift tomorrow as much as they do today.

• Text a donation. The Mobile Giving Foundation offers nonprofits a way to receive donations via text message. The group screens charities before allowing them access to the platform. The service provides organizations an easier donation process if they are already a BBB Accredited Charity. For more information on how to donate from your mobile device, visit www.mobilegiving.org.

Anyone who feels they’ve been a victim of a charity scam should report it to local law enforcement and BBB Scam Tracker.

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