This is an archived article that was published on in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Charitable giving can provide a rewarding way to express the holiday spirit. But sometimes the best charitable intentions can wind up in the wrong hands — namely, the hands of a scam artist.

The following websites offer advice on how to give safely:

AARP • Highlights scam-artist methods to watch out for when considering a charitable gift, at

Better Business Bureau • Spotlights five questions to ask before giving to a charity at holiday time, at

Federal Trade Commission • Suggests a checklist to ensure donated dollars reach a legitimate charity, at • Provides six steps to safe charitable giving during the holidays, at

National Consumers League • Discusses cautionary steps to take before giving to a charity, at