How not to get scammed during the holidays (or ever)

Here’s some great tips to remember when making donations this holiday season:

• Never donate to a charity that you know nothing about.

• Don’t feel pressured into giving on the spot or allowing someone to come to your house to pick up the contribution.

• Hang up the telephone on aggressive and harassing solicitors.

• Request written information about the charity, its mission, programs and finances, how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

• Confirm a charity’s tax-exempt status with the IRS by calling (877) 829-5500, or click on the “Search for Charities” link online at irs.gov/charities.

• Check to see that the charity is registered with the California Attorney General’s Office at oag.ca.gov/charities.

• Look at charity watchdog sites, such as the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at give.org, charitynavigator.org or guidestar.org.

• Do not reveal your personal or financial information, including your Social Security number or credit card and bank account numbers, to anyone who solicits a contribution from you.

• Always write a check payable to the charity, not the individual soliciting you, so that you have a record of your donation.

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