NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – ‘Tis the season to be on alert for scammers as more unsuspecting people are reaching into their pockets to shop for gifts and give to charities.
The Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky wants consumers to be aware as con artists run rampant this time of year.
“This is the time of year when everyone’s heartstrings are a little wider and a little longer,” says Robyn Householder the President and CEO of the BBB.
Check the name
The BBB says there are telltale signs to look for before making a donation to a charity. Householder says, “They are going to use names that sound very similar to the well-known names you know. For example, recently we had a scam where instead of The American Cancer Society, they called themselves The National Cancer Society.” You can verify the name of a charity by checking on the BBB’s give.org website.
Check if the organization is registered
A second way to verify if you are donating to a legitimate charity is to make sure they are a registered 501(c)(3) organization. You can track that down when you use the Charity Navigator website.
Donate directly to the organization’s website
Householder recommends you donate directly to an organization’s website, “Don’t donate through crowdfunding and pop-up ads because you simply don’t know who you are giving to when that happens.”
Only donate with a credit card
She adds you should only be donating to a charity with a credit card. “Always, always, always donate with a credit card, because that way if there is a problem afterwards, your bank can help you get that money back. Never wire and never send gift cards, when you do that consider it a gift, it’s gone.”
News 2 is helping you fight back against other holiday scams. We expose scammers tricks in our Holiday ScamBusters special reports all day Monday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.