Mississippians are known for the giving spirit, and are in the top 5 for giving to charities nationally every year. With that being said, we are also targets for charity fraudsters and scammers trying to take advantage. The Mississippi Secretary of State Charity has issued a warning to residents encouraging them to be careful when making a donation this holiday season. The American Red Cross has set up a fraud hotline for anyone who suspects fraudulent activity (Concern Connection Line 888-309-9679 or email to email@example.com). “It's not just individuals that are targeted, but businesses, civic groups, and churches.” says John O’Hara CEO of BBB Serving Mississippi “This is the time of year when good people want to do something special and leave their mark on 2017, and then there are those who want to take advantage of those people”.Once you have decided which charity or charities you want to donate to, do your homework, you don't have to wait until the holidays to do that homework. If you can decide who you support during the year, you may feel more comfortable turning down other requests during the holiday season. You can work throughout the year to identify charities you'd like to work with and eliminate the need to respond to other solicitations. Even better, get to know the organizations you are supporting.To help make the decision easier, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring association, has developed a set of 20 Standards for Charity Accountability to ensure credibility and educate consumers about fraudulent charities. In Mississippi, all charities must be registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State. Also check BBB's list of BBB-Accredited charities at Search for Charities.