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We are closing in on mid-term elections in the United States and you’re surely seeing political advertisements and signs everywhere. As November 6th approaches, the frequency of ads, campaigning and donation requests are sure to increase. Like many Americans, you may have very strong feelings about a specific issue, amendment or politician. This is excellent, but there are illegitimate organizations which will use your emotions to try and fraudulently obtain some of your money through a donation. Below, we will outline a few guidelines to follow so that you don’t fall for political donation scams.

Do Your Research

Before you make any donation to an organization or political campaign, take a few minutes to research exactly who you’re donating to. Political Action Committees (or PACs) are “organizations that raise money privately to influence elections or legislation, especially at the federal level.” You must be aware that many PACs do not follow through with their stated goals and may never use your money to move forward the cause you donated toward. Take some time and research the organization who you are considering donating to. Make sure you know exactly where the PAC spends their money. OpenSecrets is a website which will show you exactly how much money a PAC raises and where it’s being spent.

Tips On How To Donate

  • If you’re looking to donate to a candidate, you should do so through their official website, not over the phone.
  • In fact, you should never give a campaign donation over the phone. A caller ID can be manipulated to make the call seem legit, all while being completely fraudulent.
  • Find out if your donation is eligible to be tax deductible. Depending on where a PAC does their lobbying can determine whether you can write off your donation.

Election season is a whirlwind that is very easy to be swept up by. Please use these tips to ensure your money actually goes toward an issue or candidate that you believe in. A few minutes of research will ensure you don’t fall for political donation scams this election year.

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