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How To Avoid Scams On Giving Tuesday

Two senior citizens enjoy a game of Dominoes at the Serving Seniors Wellness ...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: Two senior citizens enjoy a game of Dominoes at the Serving Seniors Wellness Center in San Diego on Nov. 29, 2019.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that encourages people around the world to give donations, time, or goods to charities. Last year, people in 150 countries raised $400 million online.

In San Diego, the movement was strong as well. Last year, Serving Seniors, a non-profit that provides meals, housing and other programs for seniors living in poverty raised $40,000 on Giving Tuesday alone. The non-profit receives $2.5 million in donations to help fund its 12 wellness sites that serve 6000 seniors annually.

Listen to this story by Priya Sridhar.

"A lot of charities came around and said we need to do something to highlight kind of what the holiday season is about which is helping each other, so that was where Giving Tuesday came about and a lot of organizations are reaching out to try to get prospective donors, said Paul Downey, president and CEO of Serving Seniors.

He says while many of the donations are small from working families or people, they add up to make a big difference. While he says the spirit of Giving Tuesday is noble, it's important to be cautious about where you donate your hard-earned money. Downey has some tips on how to ensure your donations get to a worthy cause:

— Look for a local address. Don't send money to P.O. Box. You should be able to drive to the charity and even take a tour of their facilities.

— Use websites to get a good understanding of what the charity you're interested in does with its money. You can visit the California Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, Guidestar and Charity Navigator.

— Ask specific questions about a charity's financials. If it's not on its website, call the organization and ask for a 990 tax form. Be wary of charities who seem hesitant to provide details. Ideally, 85 cents of every dollar raised should go directly to programs and services of the charitable organization.

Reported by Priya Sridhar , Video by Amal Younis

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