The Federal Trade Commission suggests that a reputable charity is able to give detailed information about the reason behind the charity, the address of the charity and any associations that the charity may have. Most reputable charities will also accept check donations and will not simply ask for cash or wired money.
A reputable charity is always transparent about what the charity is for and who is running the charity. There are many charities that belong to local and state organizations. Charities that belong to these organizations are generally legitimate. Most reputable charities also have tax deductible and tax exempt options that make them easy to find with a quick search of the Internal Revenue service archives. The Better Business Bureau holds information on reputable and non-reputable charities that consumers can access at any time.
There are many charity scams; these scams are able to function and act just like the charity they are impersonating because they have a similar name and act like the same people who are from the reputable charity. The easiest way that a fake charity can be spotted is by finding out what type of donations the charity takes. Charities that only accept cash donations are usually not reputable.