Research before you donate: Spotting fake charities

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — The Federal Trade Commission and South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs say that people soliciting fake charities will target shoppers during the holidays.

“If you’re not sure about the charity, don’t feel pressured to give,” said Juliana Harris with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

“A lot of times, we get solicited while we’re walking around stores or on the phone, and you may not know who the charity is. You may not be familiar with them. It’s ok to say no,” said Harris.

If someone is soliciting a donation, you should ask for as much information about the charity as possible, including a physical address. Also, be skeptical of names that closely resemble other well-known charities. If someone asks you to mail cash, provide bank information, or has a sense of urgency, those are red flags.

There are lots of great resources that tell you what a charity uses their money for, how much of the money actually goes to their cause,” said Harris.

One site to visit is Charity Navigator. You can search the name on the site.

Additionally, all South Carolina charities must be registered through the Secretary of State. You can search or see a list of registered charities on its website. You can also find a list of suspended charities.

For more research tips, click here to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

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