**Check out the charity- You can find some charity info at the BBB or charity navigator
** There is no deadline to give- Take you time. Charities don't have deadlines, but scammers do to stay under the radar. Tell them you will think about it. If they use high pressure tactics, they aren't worth it and more than likely aren't legit.
**Ask Questions- Found out the location of the charity, how much of the money is for administrative use and how will the money be used for the needs. If 50% or more of your donation goes to executives’ salaries, administrative cost and fundraising, skip them.
**Get information in Writing- Have them send you a brochure, a graph of their previous divisions of money, and their 990 tax form information that they file with the government.
Charities are required to provide Form 990 information on request (This excludes churches, synagogues and other places of worship.) Don't be fooled by their 'tax-ID number' these are only needed to for employer verification.
**Check out all charities for Police and Fire Departments- Check them out first, get the name, address and phone number to contact them back and do follow up.
**Get a Receipt- Preferably one with the charity name on it. A paper trail is always a good thing.
** Don't donate with cash- Again the paper trail idea, check or credit card is best.
**Be protective with information- It is best to not give information out over the phone like credit cards or personal information, unless you have checked them out or dealt with them before.
**Get the exact name of the organization- Many scammers have names similar to legit organizations. They may change the wording slightly to throw you off.
**Contact the authorities- Police and or FBI can be contacted, have as much information as you can with you to give them. Even recording a call can be helpful if you get regular calls, make sure it is allowed in your state or if you have to let them know you are recording them.
The BEST way to give to charities is to contact them after you have done your own research. Don't let the scammers scare you off, please do give of yourself through time or money.