Beware of scams when donating during the holidays

On this #GivingTuesday, many charities are asking for donations. So, how do you know who to give your heard-earned money to? 

"Give," said Better Business Bureau president Tom Bartholomy. "But give wisely."

Bartholomy, with the BBB of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina, says more than half of all charitable contributions are made in November and December. 

"There's an element out there that's trying to take advantage of that" giving spirit, he said. 

That's why it's important to do your research first. The BBB is warning of e-mail and phone solicitation scams, especially ones claiming to be from police, fire or military charities. 

You can verify if a charity is licensed by calling the North Carolina Secretary of State's office at (888) 830-4989 or by clicking here

"It's even easier now to give wisely than it ever has been before," said Bartholomy. "With the internet and a couple clicks to a few websites you got the information you need."

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recommends:

  • Decide who you want to give to first and contact them directly.
  • Give to charities you know.
  • Ask to receive written material about a charity you're unfamiliar with.
  • Ask how much of your donation goes to the charity's mission, instead of fundraising. 

Read more tips from the North Carolina Attorney General's office here

Websites like Give, Guidestar, Charity Navigator and CharityWatch, all help you see how your money is being spent - so you can be confident your donation is getting results.