By both design and calendar placement, Giving Tuesday is meant to be the palate cleanser that allows us all to digest and breathe a little easier following the ominously titled Black Friday and frenetic Cyber Monday.
Meant to call attention to charities in need of support, Giving Tuesday began here in the United States and has since spread across more than 709 countries.
The timing of the day also allows tax savvy adults aged 72 and over to donate their Required Minimum Distributions directly to the charity of their choice. (Of course, they can do this throughout the year, but the deadline to withdraw your RMD is Dec. 31 and many people do this in December.)
In addition to altruism, Giving Tuesday also inspires a call to vigilance. We encourage everyone to research their charities carefully and to choose their donation method wisely. An international day of giving presents the perfect opportunity for people with nefarious intent as well.
Here are five tips to keep you safe as you make your donations and shop online this holiday season:
- Hover your cursor over a link before you click it so you know exactly where that link will take you.
- When you look for something in Google or any other search engine, make sure you sift through the results carefully. Many companies intentionally mimic others and pay to be listed above them in search responses.
- If you are intrigued by something you see on social media, exit the app and initiate a fresh search for information about the company. Avoid clicking directly on links you see on social media.
- Before you input your credit card information, make sure the address includes an https:// at the beginning. HTTPS is an indication that a company or nonprofit’s website encrypts data to protect the information you give it from cybercrime.
- Be very wary of public Wi-Fi when you are making a monetary transaction. If you are not on a secure network and you need to complete your purchase or donation promptly, log off the public Wi-Fi and switch to your personal hotspot. A mobile hotspot is more secure than public Wi-Fi, and it prevents an Internet service provider from selling your information and online activity to a third party. (In many cases, companies are legally allowed to do this.)
We hope this Giving Tuesday brings lots of charities a much-needed influx of monetary support and that you all have a safe and happy holiday season!