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How To Avoid A Holiday Charity Scam?

Over the past few weeks I have covered elderly scams and romance scams, but this one could hit one of your family members over the holidays… Last year, a New Jersey couple launched a fundraiser for a homeless man.  Donations poured in as hearts were ripped out about this tear-jerking story.  We see charitable causes all the time that pull the purse strings of our wallet, especially during the holidays. The story of the homeless man and the $400,000 GoFundMe money unraveled and we learned about the money that completely disappeared.  Everyone behind the GoFundMe campaign was playing America, but inevitably, they were outed. As we approach the season to be jolly, here are some tips on how not to get scammed when giving to charity. Start with the IRS – Yes, the IRS.  The IRS website has a Tax Exempt Organization Search you can use to see if the charity is in fact a legitimate organization.  Remember, you want ...

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A Donation Line On Your Dining Out Bill?

As I finished up a business breakfast the other day at J. Christopher’s in Atlanta, I handed over my credit card and waited for the bill to come over to the table. As I filled out the credit card receipt, I began to write down the tip I quickly calculated in my head and add up the numbers for the final bill. Then, something struck me. It looked like there was an extra line and I wasn’t sure that I had filled out the credit card receipt correctly. It dawned on me as I re-read the line items that there was a new line on this receipt titled “donation”. Donation? Since when did donation become a line item on a breakfast, lunch, or dinner bill? I wrote an article several years ago http://bit.ly/1PaR5rB called Santa Clause at Five Below about the growing trend in department stores and supermarkets who ask you if you want to make a donation every single ...

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Have You Done The Research?

Giving to a good cause can evoke some of the most wonderful emotions we feel. The problem is that many individuals give without always doing the proper research on the charities or what the charities do with the donated money. Most of you can remember the Seinfeld episodes where George gets people to donate lots of money to the human fund without anybody asking any real questions about the charity. When they did, George gave them a few concise answers and people just accepted it as fact. Nowadays, friends ask us all the time through social media to donate money to various causes by clicking a link and filling out a form. Companies ask us to round up while shopping on line or make a $1 donation at the cash register while checking out our groceries. If you have budgeted aside a percentage of your income or a dollar amount that you can afford to give away, I recommend that ...

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