By Paul Drewes
HONOLULU (KHNL) - For many this holiday season, giving makes them feel good.
But if you are going to be donating to charity, it's a good idea to give wisely.
So your donation doesn't end up in the wrong hands.
The Salvation Army bell ringing is just one of the sounds of the holiday season, the holiday giving season.
"The holidays are a great time for giving, last year Americans gave $265 billion to charitable organizations and 25 percent of that came in December," says Bruce Bottorff, with AARP Hawaii.
But you don't always know where that money will go when you make a charitable gift.
Because of that, criminals and cons step up scams over the holidays to get their hands on your money. Aiming many at Hawaii's older population , which is perceived as generous and vulnerable.
"People above 60-65 are targeted for scams over the holidays,"says Bottorff.
So to may sure you gift gets to where it is intended, make your contribution as a check, so there is a record of your giving.
Make the check out to an organization, rather than the individual asking for the gift.
And before you even break out the checkbook, it's a good idea to learn a little about the organization that will get your money.
Hawaii used to require charities to be registered, but that law has been off the books for over a dozen years.
"Right now it is a bit of a concern, in the absence of that charity registration law, that a lot of consumers don't know where to turn to verify the legitimacy of an organization."
Hawaii is just one of eleven states without a charity registration law.
The State Attorney General's office has submitted charity registration laws in the past, but they have not been adopted.