By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the spirit of the season, many people save their annual giving for these last few weeks of the year. Before donating to a charity, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan offers some helpful advice and warns us about charity scams that have a tech twist.
The holiday season isn’t only about giving to family and friends. It’s also a popular time to give to others in need. Unfortunately, scammers can prey on that generosity, so it’s worth a few key reminders. Mapping out a strategy for holiday giving and setting a budget can make a consumer less susceptible to high-pressure pitches that could amount to scams.
Before you donate to a charity, be sure to do research to make sure the group hits its philanthropic goals. Check out the charity’s financial health, its transparency, and its track record through a website like the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator.
For clothing or food, make sure a charity has the resources to accept and distribute those donations. Also, be wary of unsolicited phone calls and emails from unfamiliar charities.
Finally, with more consumers doing commerce with their smartphones, “smishing” has become a hot new area for scammers phishing with text messages. You wouldn’t click on a link in an unsolicited email, so use the same caution with an unsolicited text.