CLEVELAND — After the rush of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales comes the call for charity on Giving Tuesday. Charities from around the country use the day for a massive fundraising push. As the day grows in popularity, it's important to make sure scammers aren't taking advantage of your giving mood.
That means doing your research according to Sue McConnell President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland. She advises, "There are deceptive charities that use sound alike names that sound very familiar to well established organizations."
In a news release, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recommends making sure the charity is registered, on the "Research Charities" section of the attorney general's website.
“We all need to open our hearts, our wallets — and our eyes,” Yost said in a news release.
He offers some tips before donating any money:
- Do not assume that charity recommendations on social media have already been vetted.
- Be cautious for look-alike websites and charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations.
- Determine what percentage of the donation will go to the charity and whether there will be any fees for donating.
- Watch out for emotional appeals. Scammers know it just takes a click to donate online and can capitalize on the convenience and spirit of giving with fake pictures and stories.
Potential donors can learn about charities through: IRS Select Check, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar.
- Before giving any money, be sure to double check that you're going to the charity's website by entering it exactly and make sure you're using a secure connection by looking for the "https://" in the web address.
If charities reach out by phone, McConnell says it's O.K. to ask them to wait for your money. "Don't make hasty decisions, don't be pressured into giving money. if somebody calls you soliciting a donation, ask them to send information in writing, so you can make a very informed calm decision. Legitimate organizations will be happy to get your donation later they won't pressure you into giving them money right now."
According to GivingTuesday.org, more than $400 Million was donated in the United States alone in 2018.