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How to safely donate to charity on Giving Tuesday and over the holidays

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood issued some guidelines for charitable New Yorkers.

When donating online, make sure websites are secure

When donating online, make sure websites are secure and include "https://" in the address, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood advised Monday. Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Jane_Kelly

'Tis the season for giving responsibly.

Many New Yorkers have shopped till they dropped over the holiday weekend, but now it's time to give back. And just in time for #GivingTuesday, Attorney General Barbara Underwood is encouraging New Yorkers to be smart about where their money is going. 

Underwood issued several tips on Monday to help make the most of monetary donations, while remaining vigilant of potential scams. 

Tips include ensuring you are familiar with the organization you're giving to (and Underwood suggests you ask for information in writing), being wary of organizations that sound oddly similar to other well-known charities, not disclosing personal information like your social security number, and making sure a website is secure (and includes “https://” in the link address).

A full list of Underwood's tips is below:

•    Take Time To Research The Organization. Charitiesnys.com is an available resource to learn more about an organization's mission and finances, as well as whether or not it is registered.

•    Know Where Your Money Will Go. If you're contacted by a telemarketer, check out Pennies for Charity to see how much of your donation will be spent on fundraising.

•    Don’t Be Pressured by Telemarketers. Telemarketers are required to identify themselves and their employer, and tell you they are being paid to call you. They also must respond truthfully to your questions.

•    Ask To Be Put On A “Do Not Call” List. While telemarketers can call people who are on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, they are required to honor your request to take your phone number off a call list for specific charities.

•    Be Wary of Deceptive Tactics and Emotional Appeals. Some organizations can use names of charities that are similar to other well-known charities to confuse donors. Be skeptical of emotional appeals that are vague on how donations will be spent. 

•    Don’t Disclose Personal Information. Never give out personal information like your social security number, and don't give out credit card information over the phone to an organization you are not familiar with.

•    If Donating Online or Via Text, Donate Securely. Make sure websites are secure and include “https://” in the address, and check a charity's website or call the organization to make sure that text message contributions are authorized. Also note that donating via text means the organization may not receive the money until after your phone bill is paid.

•    Never Give Cash. Make checks payable to the charity itself.

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