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    FRAUD ALERT – Charity scams

    submitted by Michael D. Bannon, Director, Bucks County Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures

    The end of the year is a prime time for charitable donations, and scammers try to take advantage.

    The Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force would like you to know that fake charities are among the most popular holiday scams: scammers either misuse the name of a genuine organization, or make up their own.

    The following are some tools that you can use to determine if you are donating to a reputable organization:

    *Look up the organization online and read what others are saying about it. Search the charity’s name with the terms “scam” or “complaint.”

    *Check out the charity’s ratings with groups like the

    Wise Giving Alliance (https://www.give.org), Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org), Charity Watch (https://www.charities.org), Guide Star (https://learn.guidestar.org).

    *Verify that the organization is registered with your state charity regulator. Most states require charities or their fundraisers to register before they can ask for donations (https://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Charities/Pages/default.aspx).

    Other scams to look out for during the holiday season:

    *Santa fraud;

    *Travel deals;

    *ATM skimmers;

    *Weight loss;

    *Package delivery notice;

    *Suspicious social media giveaways.