BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The holiday season brings out the best in people, but that also means we might see some of the worst.
"We use our hearts before we use our heads," says Jim Stalls with the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau.
There are some scammers out there who prey on generosity.
"They crawl right out of the woodwork during the holidays to take advantage of the public," Stalls says.
Fake charities and holiday scams pop up every year, and it's up to you to make sure you don't get conned out of your cash.
"There are a lot of people that need us to help them have a happy holiday season, and we just need to make sure that we do our proper investigation before we do," Stalls explains.
First and foremost, do your research.
"Don't be afraid to ask questions," Stalls says. "Ask to see something in writing. Ask to see what their mission is. Ask to see where the funds you're donating are going."
Don't feel like you have to give money on the spot. "If somebody asked for money today, they'll probably need it tomorrow, so it gives you a chance to do some checking, do some investigating."
If you're donating online, make sure the site is secure, and if you want to make sure a charity is legitimate, check with the Better Business Bureau.
You can find them online at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity/