Do your homework before donating to a charity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - 'Tis the season when charities put on the pressure to convince you to give. 

Whether they call you on the phone or send you solicitation in the mail, it is wise to be skeptical. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recommends taking time to do a little homework. Schmidt said it is important to research the organization and make sure it's legitimate. 

"We do see a rise in the number of scams and rip offs that are posing as charities around the holidays," he said. 

Schmidt offers three tips. 

1)     Make sure the non-profit is registered with the Secretary of State's office. 

 In Kansas, go to KSCHARITYCHECK.ORG .  In Missouri, go to ag.mo.gov/checkacharity.

2)     The websites will also let you see how much of your money goes to the cause, and how much goes to overhead and administrative expenses.

3)     Make sure the charity is in good standing with the IRS.   

"It's wise to check out in advance and make sure the entity you are giving to is listed with the IRS so you know you can deduct the contribution later on," Schmidt said. 

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