DENVER — Tuesday marks the day called "Giving Tuesday." It's a day to give to charity after spending money on "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday."
America is a charitable nation. In fact, Americans gave a $390 billion to charitable organizations last year — but not all of that money went to reputable groups.
"Most people scammed through charity donation don't realize they've given to a phony charity or they don't report it," said Krista Ferndelli with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB warns people to watch for the following warning signs before donating:
- Ask questions. Legit charities will tell you how the organization uses its funds.
- Reputable charities will tell its donors where the money goes.
- Verify if the charity really exists.
- You don't have to give someone money immediately. A real charity won't pressure you.
The American Red Cross, Direct Relief and Samaritan's Purse are the top three most searched charities right now, according to Charitynavigator.org .
The American Red Cross spends 91 cents on humanitarian relief for every dollar it gets.
The Samaritan's Purse — which is an organization helping victims of war, poverty and disease — puts 87 percent of its money donated toward aid.
Direct Relief, another humanitarian charity, puts 99 percent of its donations toward relief.