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Better Business Bureau Warns New Mexicans to Be On Guard for Charity Scammers

GRAPHIC: The holiday season means New Mexicans are seeing multiple pitches to donate to charities, but it's a good idea to do some research first before hitting the "donate" button. Graphic credit: City of Baltimore, Maryland.
GRAPHIC: The holiday season means New Mexicans are seeing multiple pitches to donate to charities, but it's a good idea to do some research first before hitting the "donate" button. Graphic credit: City of Baltimore, Maryland.
December 9, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexicans are being encouraged to be cautious when donating to nonprofits this holiday season.

Connie Quillen, executive assistant at the Better Business Bureau New Mexico, says people should do homework before making a charitable donation, and be wary of anyone asking for money over the phone or Internet, or using high-pressure tactics.

"Don't give out anything over the phone," she says. "Always take the information down, and then ask them to mail you a pledge form. That way you've got something in hand from the organization, and you have time on your own to vet them."

Quillen says the potential to be the victim of a swindle this month is higher than normal because so many more people are donating to nonprofits, and more organizations are asking for support compared to other times of the year.

She adds that another factor to consider is how much of each dollar actually goes to help those in need. Quillen says Give.org and CharityNavigator.org are websites where nonprofits can be researched.

"How much money is going for the overhead for the charity itself," asks Quillen. "How much money is going to the actual cause? You can really see where your dollars are being spent with these websites."

Quillen says a good rule of thumb is to support organizations where at least 65 percent of all donations directly benefit those in need.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM