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Better Business Bureau's holiday tips for avoiding charity scams

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During the holidays charities encourage you to help those in need. However, the Better Business Bureau warns that the holiday season is also a popular time for charity scams.

This time of year scams come out in full force: from door-to-door solicitors, telephone calls, emails, to where you do your holiday shopping. But, knowing which charities are the safe takes some research.

Before you donate, first make sure the company is reputable. If they call or email you research their physical address and try to pay the place a visit and see if you can speak to someone face-to-face.

Leonard Crain, president of the Better Business Bureau says you should never feel pressured to give any money immediately.

"We always say investigate before you donate, do some research and don't allow anyone to pressure you into giving them cash or credit card numbers or that sort of thing. So, just take your time, don't let anybody tell you that have to have the donation right now. If they need it right now they can wait until tomorrow.>

If you did not initiate the phone call or email exchange, do not give out any of your personal information. The same rule applies for email. 

"The appeals that may come to you over the telephone or in the email may be sort of tugging at your heart strings, but be sure you don't reply to an emotional appeal or a high pressure appeal. Take your time, investigate these folks, be sure that you're donating to a legitimate charity because you want the donated dollar to get to the end user," says Crain.

If you want to research a charity, you can use the BBB's website at this link.

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