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Donating to Charity This Holiday Season? Read These Tips First.

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During the holiday season, there are many charities asking for donations to help the less fortunate. While there are many legitimate charities that do good work, there are also some phony ones. Here are some tips to help you make sure that your donation benefits the people and organizations you intended.

Check out the charity. Ask for written information about the charity including their mission, address and phone number.

Watch out for similar sounding names. Some phony charities choose names that resemble respected organization.

Resist high pressure appeals. Don't hesitate to walk away or hang up if you feel you are being pressured.

Don't give cash. Cash can easily disappear. Writing a check or using a credit card provides you a record of your contribution.

Don't be confused by "tax exempt" and "tax deductible." Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal income tax return. Tax exempt means the charity doesn't have to pay taxes.

For more tips check out these articles:

Give Well: A Guide to Giving Wisely This Holiday Season

Charitable Donations: Give or Take?