Bogus charitable solicitations and "almost too good to be true" deals are still common. Unless you specifically entered a contest, always ignore phone calls, letters and e-mails telling you that you’ve won money or a prize from a charity. These are almost always fraudulent.
Scams are worked door-to-door, online and on the phone. Be wary. Scam artists create fake charity or business names that are similar to legitimate ones, which allow one to think that the solicitation is valid.
It's safest to make donations by mail with a check, or online with a credit card to a verified mailing address or established and secure website. Always double-check the exact addresses.
If you do contribute to someone at your door, do not give cash. Make a check or money order out to the name of the charitable organization, and make sure you get a receipt with the charity name on it. To help ensure your contribution is tax deductible, the donation should be made to a U.S.-based charitable organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
If a solicitor comes to your door...