Check out charities before making holiday donations
While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly.
The Department of State's Charities Database contains a list of over 10,000 charities and professional fundraisers, their addresses, telephone numbers, total income and total contributions. In addition, the database breaks down costs for programming, administration and fundraising. In addition, the site provides helpful tips for charitable giving, such as hanging up on aggressive and harassing solicitors and asking who will benefit from your contribution.
While not every charity is listed on the department's site, you can email or call the bureau about charities not on the list. The site also lists organizations that are prohibited by law from operating within the commonwealth, donation warnings and alerts issued by the state and federal government, and information on how to file a complaint.