By John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

Frequently this time of year I receive those same email, telephone or direct mail solicitations from a charitable organization that you probably do. There is typically one thing for sure; the solicitors are well-trained at pulling your heartstrings to get you to open up your wallet.

pexels-photo-220615Sometimes the charities or callers are ones you recognize. Other times, they are organizations you’ve never heard of.

One reader recently reported to me they received a suspicious fundraising call and decided to forward the number to the local police department. The police later informed him the call came from a disposable cell phone – likely not from a legitimate charity but from a scam artist trying to take advantage of your good nature.

I am not writing this to thwart your future generosity, but rather to provide guidance on researching an organization before donating your hard earned money.

The first major concern is whether the charity is a legitimate not-for-profit organization. If they are not, under an IRS audit, your charitable deduction would be disallowed. To check this, you can simply confirm their registration at your Secretary of State’s office. But doing this alone is not always enough.

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