Avoid a charity scam: 10 dos and don’ts of donating

Don't get taken by a charity scam. Use these tips to make smart donations to reputable aid organizations this holiday.

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Americans donate upwards of $300 billion to charities each year, from reputable national organizations like the American Red Cross to crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe. While the vast majority of those philanthropies are legitimate aid efforts, there’s always a danger of fraud, especially for people who may not be savvy about modern ways to donate.

Make sure you’re channeling it into charities that can really make a difference,” says Stephanie Kalivas, an analyst at CharityWatch. “There are a lot of bad people who take advantage of people’s generosity.”

With that in mind, here are some simple DOs and DONTs for giving this year.