If you are thinking of making some last-minute donations in 2012 for tax purposes, be advised. The Virginia Attorney Generals office is issuing a warning to be on alert for scam artists looking to take advantage of the giving spirit.
The Attorney General's office offers several tips for avoiding charity scams:
- The first suggestion is to "do your homework" — research the charity. Check out its website, validate if it is accredited by organizations like the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or is licensed.
- You are also encouraged to sidestep solicitations. If a charity contacts you out of the blue, be cautious.
- You are also warned to be wary of appeals that look like an invoice — such a practice can be illegal.
- Also, resist the urge to rush. If a charity is legitimate, they'll accept your donation anytime.
- The Attorney General's office encourages you to never give cash to a charity. If you are writing a check, make it out directly to that charity.
- And of course never share your banking or credit card information, and the Attorney General's office says it's best to never use a money transfer company to send money to someone who you haven't met
For more information how to avoid scams, visit the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance at BBB.org.