The holiday season is often one of the busiest times of the year for charitable giving, and as you might expect scammers will be coming out of the wood-works to try and take advantage of consumers’ generosity.
While most charities provide and important service, many are set up for no other reason than to deceive and rip people off. Charity scammers use a number of techniques to make themselves appear legitimate, but rely heavily on making seemingly heartfelt emotional appeals to their victims.
Yesterday Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard, issued a series of tips for consumers who plan on giving to charity in the coming months. The tips are as follows:
- Do not pay bills or invoices you have received from charities unless you know you have already made a commitment to support them.
- Be skeptical of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you already donate to that charity.
- Don’t be shy about asking what percentage of your donation will go directly to the charity versus what percentage will go toward administrative costs.
- Remember to ask for a receipt and a statement that the contribution is tax deductible.
- Call the Secretary of State’s Office at (602) 542-4285 or visit their Web site, www.azsos.gov, to make sure the charity is registered with the Secretary of State. A charity that operates without such registration is violating the law and should be a red flag for consumers. Be aware, however, that registration with the Secretary of State does not ensure that all of the charity’s activities are legitimate.
Consumers can visit www.tucson.bbb.org or call (520)888-5353 for a Wise Giving Report on any charity they plan on giving to.