Monday, December 21, 2009

Give Graciously, But Cautiously

The holiday season is a time for giving.

However, not everyone’s motives are genuine and there may be people soliciting charitable donations under false pretenses.

To help that ensure sure your donations are made safely, the CCSO recommends the following tips:

· Plan ahead: Make a list of charities you want to contribute to and how much for each

· Do your homework: Don’t know much about an organization asking for donations? Go online to learn more about their cause, validity, and if possible, a breakdown of how they spend their donated dollars.

· Do a double-take: Make sure you donate to the right organization. Fraudulent charities may use names similar to those that are legitimate.

· Avoid: e-mail or phone solicitations. Never give out your banking, credit or other personal information. The safest way to donate is by calling the organization directly or through its Web site (make sure they use a secured server).

· Ask: If making an in-person donation, ask to see an organization’s literature such as pamphlets, tax deductable information and annual report.

· Log on: Check out these Web sites to learn more about local, state and nationwide charities at, or the Better Business Bureau at

If you’ve received any suspicious solicitations, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 252-9300. Suspicious e-mails can be forwarded to