POSTED: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 7:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 4:03am
TYLER- It's a time for charitable giving, but local experts say 'tis the season for scam artists.
In these tough economic times people are turning to charities more than ever for help and in turn, charities are turning to those who can give to help meet that demand.
Experts say, to protect yourself, keep an eye for these red flags. First, if you receive a phone call from a group you're not familiar with, ask for something in writing. If they can't do that, it's probably best to just say no.
Don't let someone pressure you, whether it's in person or over the phone. Also never give out personal information over the phone.
"Get the number of the organization, call them back and then provide that information to them," Mechele Agbayani, President of the BBB in Tyler, said.
Also experts say be wary of brochures you receive in the mail.
Just to play it safe, deal with organizations you already know.
"They should have no problem with you checking them out first," Agbayani said.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, like how your donation will be used and what percentage is going to the charity, because if you're not careful, not all of your money will make it to the charity.
Experts say a good rule of thumb is 10 to 20 percent for an organization's operating costs. Anymore than that and your money isn't really going toward the cause.
So do your research and remember the charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.
To check out an organization, you can call the attorney general's office and speak with their charitable trust department or call your local Better Business Bureau.
Of course this isn't the only scam being used by some this time of year, for more information on other holiday scams go to: