You Google, we Google...we all Google. But too often we don't Google what we should.

For instance, anytime you get a request for money by a charity
you should google the charity name and the word scam. It's one of the easiest first steps to see if the charity is real.

This kind of quick check could have saved thousands of people a lot of money.

“When you hear it's for children, everybody wants to help out children when it's for children, “ says Patricia Shoemaker. She was one of
thousands of other people who donated money to helping out and the Smiles for Kids Foundation.

They received pamphlets in the mail. Two charities were raising money for children battling cancer. So she sent a check. Then, she started to get phone calls.

“Someone calling saying you really need to send your check in right now because the kids are really counting on you.”

The aggressive nature of the calls made her think twice. Turns out, it was all a sham.

Clifford Edwards was setting up call centers for the two fake charities.
Over a three year span, 36-hundred people gave Edwards more than $120,000. He was using the money for his personal expenses and not one single penny was going out to benefit kids with cancer.

Postal inspectors say before you agree to give any money to a charity – look them up. Get the specific name of the organization that is calling you and put the word scam right next to it and just Google that.

But even if the charity is real, doesn't mean you know your money is being used wisely. Use the 2WTK research tool: Charity Navigator.

They score each charity on several key points, like tax status, length of operation, fundraising, administrative expenses.
The last charity 2WTK looked at was Special Olympics in NC.

Charity navigator gives an overall score for this charity it's 87%. But the real key to how your money is being spent is this: the pie graph!

For example 79% of Special Olympics NC money goes to programs and services. Charity navigator's threshold for most efficient charities--- is if 75% is spent on programs and services and only 25% on fundraising and administration.