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On The Money: Scam artists prey on giving spirit

By Chuck Myers, McClatchy-Tribune News Service –

No mincing the difference between naughty and nice here. Charity scam artists can quickly take the cheer out of the holiday season for generous individuals, families and organizations looking to give.

A wide range of websites serves up tips and insights on how to avoid a charity scam, particularly during the holidays. Here is a sampling of sites with information that can help consumers avoid a holiday swindle.

—AARP: Overview on how to watch for charity hoaxes during the holidays. http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-11-2010/scam(UNDERSCORE)alert (UNDERSCORE)holiday(UNDERSCORE)hoaxes.html

—Better Business Bureau: Offers five solid practices to prevent becoming a charity scam victim during the season of giving. http://www.bbb.org/us/article/tis-the-season-for-holiday-scams(UNDERSCORE)dont-let-them-take-you-for-a-swindling-sleigh-ride-37900

—Federal Trade Commission: Covers how to deal with a potential charity scam and how to spot the warning signs.http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/charityfraud/

—National Consumers League: Lists six tips to avoid a charity scam. http://www.fraud.org/tips/internet/charity.htm

—Scambusters.org: Spotlights specific scams to avoid during the holiday season. http://www.scambusters.org/charityscams.html

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