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Watch out for ‘Grinches’ in the mail




Holidays should be a time for giving. For hustlers, they’re a prime time for taking!

Among the many legitimate requests you may receive this season from well-known, worthwhile charities, you may receive requests from a few groups that are exaggerated, distorted, or even fraudulent.

Be on guard against these “Grinches” in the mail. Here’s how you can protect yourself and your donations from phony charities:

• Be suspicious of requests for assistance that accept cash donations only.

• Always make your check payable to the organization, not an individual.

• If the charity is unfamiliar to you, ask for a copy of its annual report and financial statement. Or contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to check it out.

• If you want more extensive information on a charitable organization, contact the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, 4200 Wilson Blvd. Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203-1898, or go to www.give.org.

To learn more or to report fraud online, visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website at www.usps.com/postalinspectors.


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