ANNAPOLIS, MD (WJZ) — As Giving Tuesday nears and people donate to charity, Maryland officials are warning would-be donors about a common scam that crops up every year.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving isn’t just a day where people commonly give back. It’s also known as a day when illegitimate charities contact people out of the blue in an effort to take advantage of their generosity.

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That’s why Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith and Attorney General Brian Frosh are asking residents to keep their guard up and look out for potential red flags.

“There are Marylanders across the state who depend on the generosity of donors for basic needs,” Secretary Wobensmith said. “And while we are grateful to our reputable charities, we urge our citizens to be an alert for scam artists who take advantage of unsuspecting donors.”

Most of the red flags surrounding dubious charitable causes revolve around a lack of verification. In light of that, officials recommend that donors research and verify that charities are the real deal before making donations.

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“We are committed to connecting Maryland’s donors with tools and tips on how to give wisely,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Maryland is home to a number of nonprofit organizations worthy of your generous donation. As we approach the holiday season, it is important to be prepared and do your research before donating.”

Here are some tips to help you avoid falling victim to a charity scam on Giving Tuesday:

  • Research charities to check that they are real;
  • Avoid charities that won’t answer your questions;
  • Never make payments or donations over the phone;
  • Check if the charity is registered with the Maryland Secretary of State.

Additional tips from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office can be found here.

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CBS Baltimore Staff