Consumer Alert: Giving Tuesday presents opportunity for scammers to pose as nonprofits

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the Better Business Bureau, the Giving Tuesday movement has raised over $1 billion for charities since its creation in 2012. While there are many reputable organizations, scammers have been known to use the opportunity to pose as nonprofits.

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“They know we’re in a giving mood and that we want to help others, so they are going to go ahead and take advantage of that situation,” said Roseann Freitas, BBB Hawaii marketplace manager. “Even adding the number or changing one letter to make it a little different.”

Consumers are advised to do some digging on how their donation will be spent once they have found a charity they like.

“So [the charity] website should indicate what that mission is, how they do it, and a lot of times they will even share their financials with the consumers so that you have the whole picture when making that decision to donate,” Freitas said.

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All charities in Hawaii must register with the state’s attorney general. Folks can check on a particular organization through the Hawaii Charities website. Remember, you will not be getting a tax deduction unless it is a 501c3 organization.

“Not all nonprofits are charities…You can donate to nonprofits, but it doesn’t make it tax-deductible unless it’s a 501c3 charity.”

Roseann Freitas, BBB Hawaii marketplace manager

Other tips for Giving Tuesday include, not committing to on-the-spot decisions; Reputable charities will welcome a gift any day, not just on Giving Tuesday. Check for the name of the charity on the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability to see if they meet expectations. If you’re unsure about the organization’s 501c3 status, head to the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool.

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