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North Texas Giving Day is coming up on Thursday, September 22, and provides a safe and secure way to donate to charities online. Donating online is a quick and convenient way to give to charity, but it also comes with drawbacks that donors need to be aware of. Here are 4 tips to help you donate online both effectively and safely.
Think before you click: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information. When in doubt, throw it out: Links or attachments in emails, tweets, texts, posts, social media messages, and online advertising are the easiest way for cybercriminals to get your sensitive information. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting. Take four seconds to examine each email, message, post, or text before taking action. Know your charity: Online or offline, never give to a charity that you know nothing about. Look for a mission statement, a clear description of program accomplishments, and a list of the board of directors. Do not assume a web address with a ".org" rather than a ".com" ending is a non-profit organization. Anyone can purchase a ".org" web address. To determine if a group has tax-exempt status, check the Internal Revenue Service's Tax Exempt Organization Search page here. Give safely and securely: Before sharing any credit card information online, make sure the site uses encryption technology to protect you. Check the address bar on the page requiring sensitive information to be posted. The URL should begin with "https" and show a lock symbol. The "s" stands for "secure" and indicates that sensitive information will be encrypted and transmitted securely. For more tips and information, check out the following FTC articles “Before Giving to a Charity” https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/giving-charity#five%20things and “How to Donate Wisely and Avoid Charity Scams” https://consumer.ftc.gov/features/how-donate-wisely-and-avoid-charity-scams October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year’s campaign theme — “See Yourself in Cyber” — demonstrates that while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, ultimately, it’s really all about people. This October will focus on the “people” part of cybersecurity, providing information and resources to help educate you, and ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether on the job, at home, or at school – now and in the future. We will be sending tips and ideas each week in October via social media to help you increase your cybersecurity awareness.