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Unfortunately, many charity scams focus on events or subjects that pull at your heart strings, such as disasters, issues of patriotism, children, animals or other vulnerable groups. If you are not familiar with the organization or the cause, or if the appeal seems overtly emotional or uses statistics that seem unreal to you, take the time to get more information. Do some research on the cause, and ask the organization for documentation.
In many cases, these appeals will be legitimate and you will choose to make the donation and help the cause. In other cases, you may find that the appeal was not legitimate, and you can focus your energies on finding an organization that will help the cause. At the very least, be skeptical of extremely emotional appeals just so that you are sure that you are making a clear choice to give; no charity should be the result of emotional trickery!