Protect Yourself From Holiday Charity Scams

6:05 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- The holiday season isn't only about giving to family and friends. 

It's also a time to give to others in need, and unfortunately, scammers prey on that generosity.

So, here are a few key reminders to protect you.

Map out a strategy when you give and set a budget.

It can make you less susceptible to high pressure pitches that could amount to scams.

Do research to make sure the group hits its philanthropic goals.

Check out the charity's financial health, transparency and track record.

The Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator websites are a good place to start.

For clothing or food, make sure a charity has the resources to accept and distribute those donations.

Be wary of unsolicited phone calls and emails from unfamiliar charities.

And with more people shopping on their smartphones, smishing has become a hot new area for scammers phishing with text messages.

You wouldn't click on a link in an unsolicited email, so use that same caution with an unsolicited text.

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