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Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.

How to avoid scam artists preying on giving spirit


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

No mincing the difference between naughty and nice here. Charity scam artists can quickly take the cheer out of the holiday season for generous individuals, families and organizations looking to give.

A wide range of websites serves up tips and insights on how to avoid a charity scam, particularly during the holidays. Here is a sampling of sites with information that can help consumers avoid a holiday swindle.

AARP: Overview on how to watch for charity hoaxes during the holidays. Search for “holiday hoaxes” on http://www.aarp.org

Better Business Bureau: Offers five solid practices to prevent becoming a charity scam victim during the season of giving. http://www.bbb.org

Federal Trade Commission: Covers how to deal with a potential charity scam and how to spot the warning signs. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/charityfraud/

National Consumers League: Lists six tips to avoid a charity scam. http://www.fraud.org/tips/internet/charity.htm

Scambusters.org: Spotlights specific scams to avoid during the holiday season. http://www.scambusters.org/charityscams.html