Scams are always lurking after emergencies like 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Then there are the con-artists who post pictures of hungry children far away or the semi-celebrities who set up their own "foundations" to battle cancer or other life-threatening diseases. The scams multiply at holiday times when well-intentioned people want to be especially charitable.
What can we do to avoid being taken in by scams (although some may slip through despite all our efforts)?
1) Direct your support to well-known, legitimate charities, or to organizations you know and related agencies they recommend.
2) Instead of just following your emotions, take some time to reflect about your priorities for your charitable efforts and to research several organizations in the area that interests you the most to find the one that has the greatest impact.
3) Since bogus charities often adapt names similar to bona fide ones, check out the exact name and leadership of the soliciting charities through the watchdog agencies, such as Charity Navigator (www,charitynavigator.org), GuideStar (www.guidestar,org), and Charting Impact (www,chartingimpact.org).
Consult Giving Is Not Just For The Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy by Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson for further guidelines.