Watch out for charity scams on Giving Tuesday, warns BBB

How to look for scams, fake websites when shopping online this holiday season

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After three days of shopping, many Hoosiers will donate to a charity of their choice on this Giving Tuesday. But experts say, the explosion of social media and online donating is attracting scammers like never before.

The Better Business Bureau has some tips for folks wishing to donate today.

  1. Watch out for copy cat websites that look just like the real ones.
  2. Make sure the site you’re using is secure by looking for ‘https’ in the address bar.
  3. Check to see if the organization is a 501c3 charity with the IRS and that your donation is tax refundable.
  4. Be wary of emotional stories especially if they’re shared by friends on social media sites like Facebook.

“Social media has really caught on in terms of like you say sharing information, sharing links and you don’t know exactly where it came from,” explained Tim Maniscalo, President of BBB of Central Indiana. “It could’ve gone through many, many other people before it got to you.  You don’t know the legitimacy of that.”

Maniscalo adds that you should also check into GoFundMe pages as anyone can set those up for any cause.

“A lot of those are legitimate for good causes, but some of those can be scams.”

An easy way to do some quick homework on a charity is by going to the BBB sponsored website Give.org. You can search the name of any charity to find out if it’s BBB approved and to learn how your dollars will be spent.