Today is Giving Tuesday — which means it’s time for the charity scams to come out front and center.

With the holidays in full swing, many people are in the spirit of giving. Donating to a charity is a great way to give back, but before whipping out your wallet, make sure to educate yourself on charity and fundraising scams. 

According to an AARP report one-third of all charitable giving is done in December and “three-quarters of U.S. consumers have experienced or been targeted by at least one form of fraud that can be tied to the holidays.” This, in large part, includes fake or fraudulent charities trying to scam people out of their money under the guise of charitable donations.

One of the most important things to do to avoid charity scams is research. Always, always, always research a charity before donating any money. Charity research can consist of several things like reading reviews, checking to see if the charity is registered, and reviewing charity watchdog sites for validity.

Make informed charity-giving decisions this holiday season by giving with your heart as well as your head. The following tips and guidelines can help you make safer charitable contributions this Giving Tuesday and beyond.