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Checking Your Charitable Gift List Twice

December 12, 2007

Portland, OR - We're in the peak season for giving, and Oregon legal experts say, if some of those gifts are going to charity, you may want to take some precautions. Don Jacobs with the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association says Santa is not the only one who should be checking a list twice.

"People are so kindhearted by nature, and this time of year they particularly want to help. Even though they want to help, they should make sure the money they're giving is actually going to the charity. There's a lot of scams this time of year as well."

Jacobs says one good source for information about the authenticity or nonprofit status of a charitable group is the Internal Revenue Service, by phone or online at IRS.gov.

"They need to ensure that it's a legitimate charity recognized by the IRS so their donation will be tax deductible. They also need some documentation that they actually made the gift, either a check or a credit card receipt, to show they paid the funds to the charity."

People can check with their Better Business Bureau or online at gifts.org or charitynavigator.org. A full 50 percent of all charitable giving happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to a 2007 MSNBC survey.

Dondrea Warner/John Robinson, Public News Service - OR