Consumer Watch: New charity scams develop with technology

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 5 at 6:00 PM

(WHAS11) -- In the spirit of the season, many consumers save their annual giving for the last few weeks of the year. This year, some of the usual charity scams have a tech twist.

The holiday season is not only about giving to family and friends, it's also a popular time to give to others in need. Unfortunately, scammers can prey on that generosity, so it's worth a few key reminders. 

Mapping out a strategy for holiday giving and setting a budget can make a consumer less susceptible to high-pressure pitches that could amount to scams. 

-Do research to make sure a group hits its philanthropic goals. Check out the charity's financial health, its transparency, and its track record through a website like the better business bureau or charity navigator.

-For clothing or food, make sure a charity has the resources to accept and distribute those donations.

-Be wary of unsolicited phone calls and emails from unfamiliar charities.

-With more consumers doing commerce with their smartphones, "smishing" has become a hot new area for scammers. It's essentially phishing with text messages, or s-m-s. You wouldn't click on a link in an unsolicited email, so use the same caution with an unsolicited text.

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