Donating this Giving Tuesday? Here are tips to avoid online scams

SPOKANE, Wash. — With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday behind us, you might now be looking for opportunities to support others.

Tuesday, November 30 is the “National Day of Giving” – a day for people around the world to come together through generosity in all its forms.

Giving Tuesday launched back in 2012, and since then, the annual event’s reach has grown significantly. About 80 countries are now involved in its mission.

Whether it is through acts of kindness, giving your voice, time, money or advocacy, you can support communities and causes you believe in this Giving Tuesday.

But before you do, it is important to keep in mind shopping and donating have one thing in common: they are perfect targets for scammers.

The Better Business Bureau is sharing the following tips to help you give wisely and make the most of your generosity:

  • Watch out for name similarities: When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.
  • Review the website carefully: A responsible charity will include the following facts on its website: its mission and programs, measurable goals and concrete criteria that describe its achievements. You should also be able to find information on their finances. Keep in mind, the type of work a charity does will affect its costs.
  • Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations: Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.
  • Be wary of emotional appeals: Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Instead of making an impulse decision based on emotion, do some research first to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.
  • Rely on standards-based evaluations: Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Research tax status: Don’t assume every organization claiming to do good is a tax-exempt charity. You can check an organization’s tax status with the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool. Also, make sure your contribution is tax deductible.

For more holiday tips, visit the BBB Holiday Tips page.