Above: Do your homework to be sure you’re donating to worthwhile charities. Image by angiechaoticcrooks0 from Pixabay

I hope you survived the Christmas Holiday. It should be easier nowadays, at least for most of us whose kids have flown the nest—only to return after college. Then, well, they left again—after we bugged them to death—rather encouraged to seek the glorious tranquility of independence.

Hopefully those of you with grandchildren got to spend time with them and to share endless embarrassing stories about mom and dad.

As we gleefully frolic into the new year, be mindful that some crooks who focus on holiday crime are either in Key West spending the fruits of their crimes or, hopefully, in jail dining on baloney sandwiches and bad milk.

Still, this is a time when charities kick-start their efforts towards the new year’s goals. Along with those charities come the charity scams, those less than lovable parasites seeking to rid you of your meager earnings, consisting of what’s left over from your holiday budget.

If you’re like me, your post-holiday attention span is like that of a small tomato, so in lieu of an overbearing and little-read collection of this and that, I’ll hit the high notes so we can all get on with it.

Here is a list of ways to protect yourself.

  1. Common sense—Use it!
  2. Research—Use the Internet. If it’s hurricane relief, research that topic for top charities and which ones are showing up as scams. If it’s a fake, chances are that someone posted it online. Don’t go with just one review, check multiple stories.
  3. Current events—Know that following hurricanes, tornados, fires and other large-scale traumatic events, charities will spring into action to raise funds for the victims. The scammers won’t be far behind. Refer to number 2 (above).
  4. Visual appearance—Fake websites easily mimic legit ones. In the URL, there may be what appears to be the legitimate website address with perhaps one or two missing or additional letters or numbers. READ CLOSELY.
  5. DO NOT make impulsive decisions involving your money! Don’t buy into sale people pressuring you to open that wallet.
  6. Legit charities will be registered as a 501(c)(3) charity. If they’re not—don’t donate.
  7. Always, always, always refer to bullet points number 1 and number 2!

Happy New Year!

Steve Rose

Steve Rose is a retired police captain and a contributing writer to Atlanta Senior Life.