By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The days following Christmas are the perfect time to clean out closets and donate to charity unneeded items.

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But not all charities are created equal.

“It’s our busiest time of the year,” says Mark Boyd, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.

He says they are ready for a big influx of donations, and they welcome your used items.   But he says they lose tons of donations every year to what he calls “fake thrift charities” that put out bins for collection in parking lots or other areas.

“The charity may be a legitimate charity, but they may not be in the thrift market,” he says. “So what will happen is, a for-profit company will come in and rent that charity’s name.”

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Boyd says the for-profit company will sell the goods at a profit, turning over mere pennies on the dollar to the charitable organization.

“The money’s not going to any sort of charitable mission — it’s going to a company’s bottom line,” Boyd notes.

He advises that donors research charities online via Charity Navigator or Guidestar, or else go with a recognized nonprofit organization working in the thrift business.

“The oldest and more established charities that are in this line of work would be St. Vincent De Paul, the Salvation Army, and Goodwill Industries,” Boyd says.

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