DETROIT (WWJ) – Donating to a local charity is great, unless you’re being scammed.

WWJ’s Laura Bonnell tells us how to make sure you’re donating to a legitimate nonprofit.

READ MORE: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach

If you know the people who run the charity, you’re ahead of the game and donating wisely.

But if you were looking randomly online and find a cause that tugs at your heart strings … do some research before you donate.

Joy Yearout with the attorney general’s office said there are a lot of people out their who just want to steal your money:

READ MORE: Troubling Arsenic Levels Found At Some Detroit Demolition Sites

“Attorney General Schuette has a free online charity database on his website and you can search the name of charities and find out if they are registered with our office and if they are in good standing,” said Yearout.

“If you get the organization tax I.D. number you can search that through third-party services like Guide Star or Charity Navigator.”

Yearout said nonprofits should be transparent, show where their money is going and answer your questions.

MORE NEWS: Michigan Republican Party Submits Nominees For Election Board