With November and December being the biggest giving seasons of the year, unfortunately, scammers are aware of the giving spirit around the holidays and try to take advantage of it.
The good news? It doesn’t take too long to verify which organizations are real.
The IRS publishes a master list database of all 1.7 million profits in the United States and that’s directly from the IRS’s website. That will show you if the non-profit is in the IRS master list database and if it’s not, there’s a good chance it’s not a legitimate organization.
Another option is to research the team that runs the organization. Charities and nonprofits are usually transparent about this, so lack of information may indicate the organization isn’t real.
You can also look up non profits on charitable rating agency sites like Charity Navigator. If there is an organization that is not listed there or is not rated there, it’s possible that that organization isn’t legitimate and isn’t real. If you can’t verify whether or not the non profit is real, move onto a different one.
Additionally, do not respond to text or emails asking you to click on an unknown link and never answer an organization asking you to donate with a gift card.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of a scam, call your bank immediately to see if they can cancel payment or reverse the transaction.