Charities tend to raise a lot of their money this time of year. It's also open season for scammers. So if you get a phone call from a charity you don't recognize, here are five signs it might be a scam.

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  1. They only offer vague information about what they do, and where your money will go.
  2. They can't prove your donation will be tax deductible. There are a few types of legit non-profits where donations aren't tax deductible, and you also can't deduct donations to political campaigns. If that's the case, they should be upfront about it.
  3. Their name resembles a well-known organization, but it's slightly different. Like instead of the World Wildlife Fund, they're called the "Worldwide Wildlife Fund". Which is made up, but you get the point.
  4. They thank you for making a pledge or a previous donation that you don't remember making. Don't just take their word for it and assume you forgot.
  5. They push really hard to get you to donate right away. Which is a tough one, because it seems like half of real charities do that too.

If you're ever in doubt, you can go to any of these three websites. If it's a real charity, it should be listed on at least one of them: Give.orgCharityWatch.org • and GuideStar.org.