BOISE -- The season of giving is finally upon us.
Many people have started to hear from charities asking for donations. The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be careful because they say scammers will try their hardest to turn the season of giving into the season on taking.
The BBB has a few simple tips for making sure your money actually goes to a good cause.
One of the most important things to do this holiday season is have a plan. Figure out if you want to donate this season before you get asked for money. If you want to donate, know what organizations and causes you want to support.
"As you look at giving don't give quickly out of emotion, that is the biggest thing for people to realize," said Dale Dixon, President of the BBB. "Do your research, you are going to be sure the charity is reputable and doing the work you want it to do."
You can evaluate charities through the BBB's website. The BBB's Wising Giving Alliance puts charities through a 20 point evaluation. Only 62% of charities meet the BBB's donation standards.
Remember, scam artists will try to play on your holiday spirit.
"The scam artists are going to do a couple of things," said Dixon. "They are going to call you at strange times to play on your emotion and they are really going to lay it on heavy and tell you you have to make a decision right away."
Dixon says scam artists will also try to trick people by creating fake charities with names similar to well-known organizations. For example, a scammer may ask you to donate to the Red Cross of the Americas, hoping you will be tricked because the name is similar to the reputable non-profit the American Red Cross.
The BBB says give directly to the charity, and not to use a third party.
Dixon also recommends to keep your donations local when you can. This way you can see your donation help people in your community.
The BBB encourages generosity this time of year but if you're being generous Dixon says it is important to do your research so your money really goes to a good cause.