RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Before you donate to charity, make sure you know where that money is going.
Experts say it's important to do your research before you send your money anywhere.
You can easily check out charities at the Better Business Bureau's reporting arm, www.give.org.
"I've talked to people who have donated thousands of dollars to these charities, and they have no idea that most of their money was wasted," said Dick Eppstein with BBB.
The BBB calls it heartbreaking when people find out money they thought was going to help a good cause goes to waste.
The BBB says: Don't assume your donation is tax deductible. If it's run by an individual instead of a charity, your gift may not be deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Be especially careful after tragedies and disasters. Scammers rake up when emotions are high.
Many complaints are about look-alike charities. These organizations use key words like "cancer," "veteran," or "wish" and pose as other well known organizations.
Do some research on the charity, says the BBB, even if you've heard of it before. Check to see just how much of your donation helps the cause. If it's less than 65 percent, donate elsewhere.
The BBB says read fine print. There could be credit card fees and administrative costs associated with donating. Check out the charity with the BBB. It has a list of good ones in our area.