Giving Tuesday: Beware of Scams

In a continuation of post Thanksgiving shopping, Giving Tuesday is the day dedicated to giving back to charities. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released tips to prevent your money going to a fraudulent charity.  “Giving Tuesday is a wonderful opportunity for New Yorkers to give back to those in need here in New York and around the globe,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. 

The Attorney General's guidance includes:

Research the Organization. Make sure that you're familiar with the organization. Ask for information on the charity in writing and be wary if they will not provide information on their programs and finances upon request. 

Know Where Your Money Will Go. Find out what the charity will do with your money. Review their financial reports for information on how they spend donations. 

Don't Be Pressured by Telemarketers. If you get a phone call asking you to contribute to a charity, you have the right to hand up. Often, the caller is being paid to call you. If you do choose to consider donating, ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and if the telemarketer is being paid. Many of the telemarketing companies receive most of the money they raise. Be wary of claims like "all proceeds will go to charity." Telemarketers are required to be honest when answering your questions. 

Ask to Be Put on a "Do Not Call" List. You have the right to request to be placed on the telemarketer's "Do Not Call List". While it's not illegal for telemarketers for charity to call numbers on the Do Not Call Registry, consumers can stop calls by telling telemarketers not to call them on behalf of specific charities. Telemarketers are require to honor these requests. You may also ask the charity to the them off of their solicitation list. 

Be Wary of Deceptive Tactics and Emotional Appeals. Watch out for charities with names that resemble prominent organizations as these are used to confuse donors. Also be wary of emotional appeals that talk about problems, but don't address how the donations will be spent. 

Do Not Disclose Personal Information. Never give your social security number or other personal information and never give your credit card information over the phone to an organization that you're not familiar with. 

If Donating Online or Via Text, Donate Securely. When donating online, make sure the website is secure and includes 'https' in the web address. Before making a text donation, make sure that the charity authorizes text contributions. Remember the organization may not get your donation until your phone bill is paid.

Never Give Cash.

You can verify and evaluate a charities' performance using the following sites.

www.charitiesnys.com

www.charitynavigator.org

www.charitywatch.org

www.bbb.org  

www.guidestar.org

If you believe a scam is taking place, email the Attorney General's Charities Bureau at charities.complaints@ag.ny.gov or call 212-416-8401.


Photo: Getty Images

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