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How to give back safely this holiday season

After a busy weekend of holiday shopping, Maine-based nonprofits are asking for the community’s support during Giving Tuesday and the holiday season.

MAINE, USA — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, three intense days of discounts and deals that are now behind shoppers. But don't forget about Giving Tuesday. 

Since 2012, the day has been dedicated to helping nonprofits, of which Maine has more than 7,000 of.

“Giving Tuesday has a great impact on Maine's nonprofits,” Kelly McCormack, development and marketing manager for the Maine Association of Nonprofits, told NEWS CENTER Maine. 

McCormack said the holiday season is when nonprofits begin to see a steady stream of support.

"It’s a great opportunity for people to pause their busy lives and take a moment to share their gratitude with the nonprofits that have had a positive impact on them,” McCormack added. 

The beauty of giving, is that you can help out tonight or tomorrow. 

But it's always important to protect your personal information when making a donation. Fraudsters and other bad actors are trying to get you to give to nonprofit organizations that don’t really exist. 

“Last year, almost six billion dollars was ripped off of people across the United States in online scams,” Maine Sen. Angus King said. King is the co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  

King said scammers are looking to benefit from Mainer's generosity.

"Bad folks are out there who are trying to take advantage, particularly of seniors who are good-hearted and want to be charitable," he explained. 

King suggests donating to a local nonprofit because chances are you know the people involved and the money stays in Maine. 

According to McCormack, a responsible charity will include information such as its mission and finances on its website. You can also go to GuideStar.org to confirm an organization's nonprofit status. 

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