Tis' the season for charity scams

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Many people are getting into the holiday spirit by donating to their favorite charity, but do you check to see who you’re actually donating to before you open your wallet?  

Charities collect billions of dollars this time of year, and criminals try to take advantage by creating fraudulent copycats. If you don’t do your research, it may difficult to spot a fake from the real thing. 

Matthew Jensen of Ludlow told 22News, he donates every year. “That’s tough, I mean it’s really tough to find out who it’s actually going to. I donate to charities, but is it really going to where I think it is? I mean God, I hope so.” 

Chances are, you can trust well known, national organizations, but if you’re never heard of the charity before, you may want to do your research. 

John Baranski of Connecticut told 22News, he’s always weary of any organization that solicits donations through email or phone calls. “Generally, if it’s solicited over the phone, I’ll ask them to send me something at home. If they’re not willing to mail it to me, I don’t think it’s legit. I think there’s a lot of them out there, it’s the time of the year when they can make a lot of money.”  

There are ways to make sure a charity is legitimate. AARP recommends asking the charity for documentation, searching them on the state’s online database of registered charities, and using websites like charitywatchdog to see their history. 


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