How to avoid being scammed when giving this holiday season

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Saturday, December 16, 2023
How to avoid being scammed when giving this holiday season
It's the season of giving and scammers are working hard to take advantage of it for their own benefits.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's the season of giving and while people are the most generous or may feel called to help this time of year, scammers are working hard to take advantage for their own benefits.

California Attorney general Rob Bonta has several tips to avoid being scammed, and ensure your donation goes to the right place.

"Tip number one check the registration status of the nonprofit of the charity that you're giving to register. charities are required to register with my office the California DOJ and also to file annual financial reports," says Bonta.

The state has a website where you can confirm a non-profit's registration, which can be found here.

Other tips include giving to organizations you are familiar with, being cautious of social media fundraisers and never giving your social security number out.

"We see it in the holiday season, after a natural disaster, the human spirit to help others in our community is strongest. People take advantage of that unfortunately so we can't be nave about it, we must be vigilant," explained Bonta.

The Visalia Rescue Mission is a non-profit that depends on donations.

CEO, Michael Simmons says monetary gifts are helpful year round, and can be done on their online website here.

"By coming to our website you can avoid any type of scam and those kinds of things which I am sure are rampant this time of year," mentioned Michael.

Annual costs reach over $2 million a year.

So the community's help is necessary to operate their two shelters, daily community kitchen, and rehabilitation program which reaches thousands each year.

"Without our donors we don't operate, we don't exist because we are not in contracts, we are not getting grants from the state or from the federal government so doing that allows us the freedom to stay faith based and maintain our focus on changing people's lives," expressed Michael.

Now, there are other ways to donate such as volunteering at a local non-profit or donating food items or non-perishable goods.

You can find lists of local nonprofits near you by clicking here.

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