Here's how not to be taken advantage of:
- Do a keyword search online for the name of the charity asking you for a donation, along with the word "complaints."
- Don't give your financial information, or any personal information, to anyone or organization you haven't checked out first.
- Do be wary of folks asking for donations at your door right after a headline-making crisis. Stick with your tried-and-true recipients.
- Don't send cash or wire money to anyone or any organization seeking a donation. That's a big red flag.
- Do take time to think about your donation, and don't fall for a hard sell if someone comes knocking at your door.
- Don't donate to enter into a sweepstakes; understand that it is against the law to seek donations in that manner.
- Do contact authorities with tips, or if you've given money to a fraudulent operation.
Here's who to contact: