SAN ANTONIO – The holidays mean giving to your favorite causes and to those less fortunate than you. They're also the most wonderful time of the year -- for scammers, if you're not careful.
Giving Tuesday is Nov. 29.
There’s no harm in making a donation, so long as people do their research and know where their money is going.
Would you know if you were being scammed?
Many people don’t even realize it, especially at this time of year.
Miguel Segura, is the regional director at the Better Business Bureau, said, "It’s under-reported because they (donors) never find out. They take the money they've donated but you never know where it is it went."
According to the BBB, American charities receive one-third of their annual donations during the holiday season.
While this time of year means big business for charities, scammers too are seeing dollar signs.
So Segura stresses that people should do their research and make sure they're giving to the right charity.
"Be careful with name similarities. A lot of the organizations that support the same cause have similar-sounding names," said Segura.
Scammers work off people's vulnerabilities in the hopes of tricking them.
Know who you're donating to
"If you can’t find any information on a charitable organization -- like a website, the registration as a 501(c)(3) or any financial documents -- that's a huge red flag to donors."
The Better Business Bureau has put together the Wise Giving Alliance, an association that monitors and evaluates different charities. To find an accredited charity, visit give.org.
If people don't find their organization listed there they can request the BBB review their preferred charity.
But if nothing else, do a simple search to make sure the organization is credible.
Segura can’t stress that enough.
"Do a basic search. Make sure you find their website, you find their contact information, and they are registered as a 501(c)(3). And you can review the financial statements to make sure the money is going to the cause that you support," he said.