Lack of information. Someone soliciting for a charity should know details about the organization. Examples include: the percentage of money that actually goes toward the cause; how long the charity has been doing business; and the charity's full name, address and telephone number. Be wary of solicitors who cannot or will not answer your questions.
High-pressure sales. Charities are consistently in need of support. If a solicitor pressures you to donate immediately without allowing you time to research the organization, reconsider your donation.
Insistence on cash donations. Don't be forced into making a cash donation. You should be able to donate using a credit card or check, and get a receipt for your donation. However, you should never provide your credit card information to an unsolicited caller.
Prizes. Some callers will insist you won a prize in a contest you never entered, and then solicit a donation. Such calls are almost always a scam.
Similar names. Many scammers try to add legitimacy by using a name that is very close to a well-known and well-respected charity. Check the name closely and make sure you are giving to the charity for which you actually intend to help.
When looking to donate to a charity, BBB suggests consumers check with the IRS to ensure the organization is recognized as a 501(c)(3); get a better understanding of how their donation will be used; and choose an organization that has experience in the specific type of relief efforts they are claiming to undertake.
Additionally, consumers can use www.give.org to help make a more informed giving decision. There, consumers can view a national charity's financial information and get additional details about the organization.