Tips on how to avoid a charity scam

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - American Red Cross and United Way are some of the few legitimate organizations to get involved with. But sometimes you may not have the time to volunteer so you may want to donate online instead.
However there are some sites you should be cautious with.

"GoFundMe pages are great they do a lot of really good work. Sometimes as we have seen in the past, is that money is not always used for the intended purpose that its going to be," says Richard Smith, American Red Cross Executive Director.

Facebook pages can be a problem too. There is a fake Facebook page called Hurricane Michael Relief Fund. When I click on the about section there is no phone number, address or website to contact...signs of a possible scam. Some say websites that end in a dot org are more legitimate but don't be sold on that idea.

"Even watch the dot org that's not always a hundred percent. So one, use your gut instinct, if you see things like there's no phone number you know that's a little suspicious," says Jamie Toennies, United Way of Black Hills Executive Director.

Both charity directors recommend donating to an organization directly rather than through other platforms. To leave a paper trail of proof of payment, its best to use checks and credit cards rather than cash.