Hurricane season is upon us, and the US has already been hit with Hurricane Florence. If you are making a donation to help relief efforts, do your homework to avoid getting scammed by those who want to exploit your generosity.
Be sure to donate to recognized or more established organizations, like the Red Cross. If you have concerns about the charity you'd like to donate to, these organizations are good resources. Additionally, the IRS has a search feature where you can find out if your donations are tax-deductible. When donating, make sure to keep detailed financial records. Not only is this helpful for tax purposes, but it can also help check the legitimacy of an organization. Don't be afraid to request documentation and if they give a vague answer or refuse, it's probably a scam.
Keep in mind that these charities will not call or email you personally without your permission first. If you get a call out of the blue, it should set off alarm bells. For example, the Red Cross has already warned people about emails coming from a "redcross.net" email address. If you do encounter what you think might be a charity scam, report it to the FTC and your state charity regulator.