Five Tips to Help Avoid Charity Scams

lady gives at Salvation Army - tips to avoid charity scams
lady gives at Salvation Army - tips to avoid charity scams

December is a big month for charitable giving, for humanitarian and tax reasons. But not every "Will You Give" call or card is legit.

Nationally, complaints about scams are up by 8.6%. The Federal Trade Commission says it received 1.33 million complaints alone in 2009, including 3,474 complaints specifically about charity fraud. Many promise sweepstakes wins, or demand the money overnight.