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How to check if a charity is legit

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Earlier this week, the North Charleston Police Department warned drivers to watch out for and avoid donating to a group called “Save Kids”.

Many reported seeing members soliciting donations at major intersections in North Charleston, Goose Creek and West Ashley.

Some of them are holding signs asking for money to help children with cancer or young people who need a donation and a link to a cash app.

The ministry did not explicitly call it a scam, but said it posted a fake business license to solicit.

There are ways to check if a charity is legitimate, and Bailey Parker of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs says that if you care where your money is going, you’ll want to do your homework.

Parker is the department’s director of communications and public information.

“We want consumers to be on their toes to realize that a lot of the time people do it. They catch you off guard. It’s a bit of a pressure situation. This is a very common scam red flag in all walks of life,” she said.

Another red flag includes uncommon payment requests.

“They love cryptocurrency. They love gift cards. They like the cash app or venmo or even PayPal, they like those prepaid debit cards. They love bank transfers. And the reason they love them is because it’s like money to them. Once they have it, they spend it and away they go. You won’t get it back,” Parker said.

Scammers also follow the headlines.

A verified and legitimate charity must register with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

He has a charity researchand lists delinquent charities on its website.

“It’s like any company that you give your money to, you want to make sure they follow the laws that they’re supposed to follow. So if they’re set up as a 501c3 charity or whatever type of charity, they need to have the proper license to make sure they’re doing things and paying their taxes a certain way,” Parker said.

She also recommends checking out additional sources, like Charity Navigator and the BBB Wise Giving Allianceto check what exactly organizations are spending your money on.

“Consumers find out that 75% of my donation went to the CEO. That doesn’t sound good,” Parker said. “It may not be worth your donation and your hard-earned money.”

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