12 scams of Christmas: Fake & misleading charities soliciting donations

Posted at 8:14 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 20:14:19-05

It's the season of giving, and if you're looking to give money to a charitable cause, make sure it's a real organization.

RELATED: Deceptive Vietnam veterans charity dissolved

Charity scams are on the Better Business Bureau’s “12 Scams of Christmas” list.

Scammers try to trick you by using charity names that mimic well-known organizations.

Other charities may be registered but only give a portion of their proceeds to the actual cause, which is why you should do your research. A number of websites like Guidestar and Charity Navigator rate charities and show exactly how much of their donations go to what they say they're doing.

The Maryland Attorney General also wants you to report any charity scams so they can investigate.

"If you're out there, and you're trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money if you're telling them you're using it for a worthy cause and you don't, we're coming after you," said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

 All charities soliciting donations in Maryland must be registered with the Secretary of State. Click here to search their online charity database.