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Holiday Giving: Shop Smartly for a Reputable Charity

November 29, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. – Today millions of Americans will venture out to big and small retailers in search of the best deal for their holiday gift giving, and experts advise them to have the same diligence when it comes to picking their charity.

According to AARP, older Americans are more likely to receive charitable solicitations than any other group, and not all requests are legitimate, warns Doug Shadel, author of AARP's "Outsmarting the Scam Artists."

"There's a lot of charitable solicitations going on out there that really tug at the heartstrings, whether it's disabled veterans or anything having to do with disasters, and so you really just got to be careful about that," he cautions.

Shadel advises seniors and others to be cautious of charities whose names are similar to better-known organizations.

You can also request written information, avoid cash gifts and ask for a receipt.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud every year.

You can check to see if a charity is registered in North Carolina by checking with the state's Fund-raising Registry.

Shadel also says to ask the person requesting the donation more about how the donations are used and how much goes to operating costs versus the actual cause it claims to serve.

"A lot of times, charitable solicitors will try and get you into kind of a heightened emotional state around their charity,” he explains. “The best way to avoid that is at the beginning of every year, come up with your own charitable giving plan."

To receive alerts on the latest scams and schemes, consumers can sign up for the AARP Fraud Watch Network on the organization's website.


Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC