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If you’re like many US consumers, you may already be thinking ahead to your Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping. After all, it’s a good idea to be prepared: know what your budget is, scope out what gifts you may be looking for, have your retail shopping accounts already created and secured with a strong, unique password, even have your credit or debit cards ready so that you don’t expose your data or spend unwisely.

Now in its seventh year, there’s another holiday that follows right on the heels of the shopping extravaganza, one that is truly a remarkable kickoff to the holiday season: Giving Tuesday. When the dust settles from the flurry of early shopping, it’s a good time to spread some goodwill by contributing to a worthy cause.

Of course, your favorite charity could use your support at any time of year, so what makes #GivingTuesday so special? For starters, the social media buzz surrounding the event can help encourage donors who may not have known about the annual holiday. Also, a number of companies offer to match funds that day, helping to spread your generous donation even further.

Unfortunately, any time a newsworthy event takes place, scammers are ready to strike. That’s why it’s important to be ready for Giving Tuesday and avoid impulse donations unless you can trust the source:

1. Plan now for how your donation will be made – Will you use a crowdfunding site? A payment app? A credit card or debit card? By knowing how you’re going to give, you can avoid some of the scams that may pop up.

2. Know where your money is going – Some generous consumers like to split their donations among different causes, such as an animal advocacy group, a veterans’ organization, and a charity that provides meals for the homeless. Others might choose to rotate their donations year to year in order to give the maximum support they can afford to a much-needed organization. In any case, if you make your plans now—even if you wait to make the donation until the actual holiday—you’ll be less likely to be taken in by a phony charity request. Verify your favorite charities through Guidestar or BBB Wise Giving.

3. Be careful about oversharing – One sure sign that a donation request is a scam is if they ask for a ridiculous amount of personal data. Yes, charities do like to get contact information so they can follow up with you later, and some charities need to collect small amounts of demographic info. But anyone who wants your birth date, Social Security number, any kind of account numbers or login credentials or other sensitive info should be avoided.

It’s important that we all do what we can to help agencies and organizations who do important work, but at the same time, it’s okay to be hesitant when it comes to your security. Be on the lookout for scams and fraud, and avoid any scenario that makes you uncomfortable. Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to offer your support but do your homework to ensure that your donation is going to the right people while protecting your privacy.

For more information on Giving Tuesday—both as an individual donor or for information on helping worthy causes get involved—visit GivingTuesday.org.


Read next: “Secret Sisterhood” Online Gift Exchange Scam Alert

Don’t let your good intentions and generosity be derailed by charity scams.

Who Is It Targeting:  Donors on Giving Tuesday

What Is It: Tried-and-true charity scams that have been repurposed for Giving Tuesday

What Are They After: It’s sad to think there are people vicious enough to steal money that was supposed to go to a worthy cause, but it’s true. Giving Tuesday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, has been set aside for the past five years as a day to give back for what the holiday season has already brought you and your loved ones.

But there are scammers waiting in the wings to target your sense of goodwill. Whether it’s a spoofed email that claims to be from a recognized charity or a fake website whose name is intentionally close to one you’ve heard of, there’s no shortage of ways thieves are waiting to steal from you.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • If you’re donating this year, select your charities or non-profits ahead of time.
  • If you do see an ad and want to help, don’t click on it; instead, search for the charity yourself online and donate directly through their homepage.
  • Check out the list of registered causes at GivingTuesday.org if you aren’t sure who you’d like to support this year.
  • Remember that charities need support throughout the year; if you aren’t certain about the validity of an organization you learn about online, there’s nothing wrong with waiting and donating once you’ve checked them out.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here.

For full details of this scam check out this article from WTVM.com.