Officials Warn of Charity Scams During the Holidays
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- For some, the holiday season means a time to give back to the community, but how do you know if the charity you’re donating to is a legitimate organization and not a scam?
"People will pick any opportunity they can to scam others out of their money, unfortunately," said Kate Porras of the Grand Junction Police Department.
Grand Junction police officials say the best way to ensure your charitable dollars stay safe is to keep your donations within the neighborhood.
“Go directly to those nonprofits and/or those charitable organizations and make contributions directly to them,” said Porras. “Then you know for sure they are getting your money.”
However, if you're looking to donate more than just a dollar into a Salvation Army basket, United Way has some simple tips.
"My best advice for people looking to give during the holiday season is to do the research and make sure you know who you are giving to," said Amanda Crysler of United Way.
United Way of Mesa County funds more than 54 local nonprofits, and officials from the organization say an easy way of knowing if the charity is legitimate is to see if they're registered with them.
“When an organization receives funding from United Way, we've already gone through and we have looked at their financials,” said Crysler. “We’ve checked out to see if they have duplicated services.”
United Way says Charitynavigator.com is also a helpful online tool to use if you're looking to donate outside of Mesa County.
“It’s a great tool for donors to go online and see if an organization is on there,” said Crysler.
It’s also a tool authorities agree with; they say you should always take those extra steps and do your homework before you donate any dollar.
“Do your research online,” said Porras. “If it's not a nonprofit you're familiar with, a lot of people will post if they have a problem with that agency in the past.”
If you think you have been scammed, the Grand Junction Police Department says to contact them, and they will help you get to the bottom of the problem.