Avoid Holiday Scam Artists

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The spirit of giving is alive and well in the Brazos Valley this holiday season. But scam artists are right around the corner, waiting to take advantage of your charity and your checkbook.

"This is the time of year when it happens the most, this is where the big dollars come in through the charities," said Larry Lightfoot, Better Business Bureau.

Most scam artists will use names very similar to those of an actual organization.

"It could be a society instead of an association or an organization instead of a group," said Lightfoot.

If you are unsure an organization requesting a charitable donation is legitimate, simply ask them for proof.

"If they're wanting something free for you to give, they'll be able to provide you with a hard copy of what their organization is all about," said Lightfoot.

One local resident says before he finishes his charity list, he's checking it twice

"I'd even call the police department to see if there's been any complaints filed using the company's name," said Weldon Mackey, holiday donor.

Another resident says she gives through her church, but other than that she's reluctant to make donations.

"We give to the Salvation Army when they ring the bell, but that's about it because we don't know who's legit or not," said Misty Karr, holiday donor.

Organizations asking for donations door to door, must register with the city. So if you can, check their status with the city. If approached by phone get their name, address, phone number and ask them to mail the information. If they hesitate, hang up. Scam artists are clever but by asking the right questions, no one can take advantage of your holiday generosity.