Safely Gifting and Sending Money During Christmas
During the holiday season, you will be asked to give to many causes and charities through text, email, social media, over the phone, and in person.
The glow of Christmas spirit should not tarnish the importance of verifying these donations will be gifted to legitimate organizations. Some may be frauds, using names that sound similar to known establishments. But sometimes, even known establishments may be using donations to pay for administrative costs or are poorly managed or ineffective. You may even find that your donation may not be tax deductible.
To avoid a misstep, investigate before donating.
Domains ending in .org usually designates a not-for-profit organization. However, anyone can register a .org domain, meaning domain names ending in .org can be anything, including a scam. Use these watchdog resources as you consider making charitable gifts.
- Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance provides reviews and information of charities and links to local Better Business Bureaus (BBB) – including BBBs serving Illinois.
- Charity Navigator evaluates an organization’s financial health, accountability, and transparency using a ranking system.
- Charity Watch rates charities, houses articles reviewing charities, and carefully analysis state and federal government filings.
Federal Government Resources
Explore more information about reputable charities using websites hosted by the U.S. government.
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information details how to spot a charity scam, provides a list of questions to ask, and gives resources on how to report a scam if you fall victim.
- USA.gov Scams and Frauds provides information on common scams and frauds, identity theft, online safety, privacy, and scam and fraud reporting.
- The IRS Tax Exempt Organization List lists organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and is available for download; not all charitable contributions are tax deductible.
Doing research before gifting can ensure your charitable donations this holiday season – and throughout the year – make the greatest impact.