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Local Agencies Provide Advice On Donating Safely This Holiday Season

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) 'Tis the season for giving, but in some cases, 'tis the season for taking as well, as in a scam.

No one wants to get caught being the victim of a scam when they're trying to give back to the community.

Paul Johnson along with his wife Debbie spearhead the Christmas for Kids, Toys for Tots program.

6,000 children received toys last year from the program and this year as you can see, are back at it once again.

Paul explains, "we are to the point where we are starting to distribute, people went to the organizations that we have listed on kmvt.com and they have applied, obviously we want to remind everybody to apply once and if you are on there several times, there is a chance you may not be able to get a toy."

Feeling like you have to donate to all of the agencies this holiday season is almost like a domino effect, but in order to stay out of trouble, we have some helpful tips to keep your money safe.

Johnson advises look for https on the url, signifying it's secure.

"Once you see this a secure website....the money that you are donating, even if it's a national toys for tots program,, the all the money stays locally," adds Paul.

Meanwhile, the kettle ringing program is up and running for the Salvation Army, but if you don't feel like fighting the cold and want to donate from the comforts of your own home, it's easy and secure.

Capt. Marcos Marquez of the Salvation Army says, "if you visit our website, www.salvationarmytwinfalls.org, there's a link here to our Christmas page to our virtual kettle, it's my own personal virtual kettle, 100% of the proceeds stay here in town. That's a good way to donate this holiday season with a credit card."

The Salvation Army does not solicit by phone.

"So if you ever get a phone call saying, would you like to donate, no that's not us. That's not a practice that we do," adds Marquez.

While it's a season filled with generosity, a scammer never takes time off.

If you have questions, always contact the organization you're trying to help for more assistance.


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