Feeling generous? Don’t get scammed!

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s almost Christmas and you’re feeling generous. Now what?

Better Business Bureau President and CEO Tim Maniscalo says you need to get your guard up.

“This is the time of year when everyone feels generous and we can be a little vulnerable,” said Maniscalo. “These scammers are very, very good. They know how to pull at your heart strings. They know what’s going to make you give your money away.”

Maniscalo says you need to be wary of a sob story, never give cash, and beware of charities offering gifts.

Also, don’t be fooled by what might pop up in your e-mail inbox. One email making the rounds at Christmastime since 2005 warns about a handful of popular charities. It’s been proven false, but Maniscalo says people fall for it every day.

For example, the e-mail refers to Goodwill, saying, “$0.00 goes to help anyone! Stop giving!”

“They spread like wildfire out there” said Maniscalo. “That doesn’t make them legitimate.”

Indiana Goodwill leaders say your donations go toward the Goodwill adult schools in central Indiana, programs for first time moms, and employment of 3,000 Hoosiers who otherwise probably couldn’t get work.

Maniscalo says there are so many ways to be a scam victim and the bottom line is to do your research.

“You hang up the phone or get off the internet and think you’ve done something good and then you’ve been taken advantage of and that just really ruins your Christmas spirit,” said Maniscalo.

To check on a charity, head over to the BBB Scam Stopper.