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Don’t let scammers capitalize on your generosity this Giving Tuesday

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Each month, roughly 53,000 people rely on the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

That’s why the non-profit is hoping to collect as many donations as they can this Giving Tuesday — a relatively new movement that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

“Giving Tuesday has become a really big fundraising day for us,” Lisa Roth Blackman said.

Roth Blackman said last year on Giving Tuesday, the food bank raised $52,000 with a $25,000 match.

This year, she said they’re hoping to top $100,000.

“It’s a really important day for the food bank because it gives everybody a pause from the commercialism of the season and it focuses everybody’s attention on giving back,” Roth Blackman said.

The food bank isn’t the only non-profit vying for donations. Libraries, universities, pet rescues and other organizations are also hoping for a helping hand this holiday season.

Giving USA reports that Americans — including companies and foundations — donated approximately $427 billion to charities nationwide last year.

But before you donate, experts are urging you to ensure your money isn’t being pocketed by scammers.

“There has been a huge uptick in charitable scams,” CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger said.

Schlesinger said scammers take advantage of Giving Tuesday and generosity during the holiday season.

“It sounds like a legitimate organization, maybe it has the word cancer in it, but it’s a fake organization,” Schlesinger said. “Or, it could be something where they’re phishing for information. A lot of these people get on the phone, they’ll try to get your personal information. You never want to give out any information out about yourself.”

The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance urges anyone looking to donate to keep these tips in mind:

  • Watch out for name similarities. When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.
  • Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations. The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.
  • Be wary of emotional appeals. Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.
  • Avoid charities that don’t disclose. Although participation is voluntary, charities that don’t disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA raise a critical red flag for donors. Visit Give.org to find out if your selected charity is nondisclosure.
  • Rely on standards-based evaluations. Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Get free access to charity reports online.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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