State leaders offer helpful tips to avoid fake charities

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – As the most charitable time of the year approaches, it is important to know exactly who you’re donating to.

In recognition of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, state leaders are offering suggestions to keep you from getting ripped off.

In the mountain state, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a statement on Monday saying “I commend and encourage this generosity. However, we also must exercise caution.” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear also mentioned the issue during his Monday afternoon briefing.

I want to bring awareness that there are still so many out there that would try to take advantage of us during those holiday seasons even in the midst of a pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky

In an attempt to combat this problem, Gov. Beshear’s office created what they call a “Charitable Giving Guide.” The guide was created “to help Kentuckians ensure their dollars are used to help their neighbors and not stolen by scam artists.”

While the scams might seem like the “real deal”, there are several signs you can look for that may say otherwise.

Attorney General Morrisey’s office released this list of tips to keep in mind when making donations:

  • Never feel pressured to donate immediately.
  • Be suspicious of charities that ask for donations in cash, gift cards or via wire transfer.
  • Ask how much of an individual donation directly supports the desired cause.
  • If the charity is unfamiliar, gather as much information as possible about the organization.
  • Never rely on a group’s sympathetic sounding name or its similarity to a well-known, reputable entity.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls that thank you for donations that you do not recall making.
  • Verify any local chapter is authorized to solicit funds on behalf of its parent organization.
  • Go directly to the charity’s website instead of clicking on a link to the desired group. Also, confirm the website starts with https:// as the “s” verifies a secure connection.
  • Be wary of any charity refusing to detail its mission, use of donations or proof of tax deductibility.
  • Keep records, including a letter confirming the charitable status of the organization, for contributions in excess of $250.

When making donations online, it’s important to take extra precautions and head directly to the charity’s website instead of following third-party links. Failing to take these precautions could lead to identity theft and financial fraud.

For more information on Gov. Beshear’s “Charitable Giving Guide”, click here.

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