Charity Scams: Part 2

Is this a real charity?

The holidays are approaching and it is the perfect time for scammers to try to solicit funds for charities. Unfortunately, not all solicitors are donating funds received to charities. It is important to be aware of charity scammers so that you do not fall victim. 

According to the Michigan Attorney General’s (AG) office there are several scams that involve fraudulent charity donation solicitations. One popular scam is when scammers use stolen credit cards for a donation, call the charity and state they mistakenly donated too much and ask for a credit on a new card because the stolen one initially used was closed. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this type of scam can contact Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to file a complaint.

According to Michigan’s Attorney General’s office, the following questions can be asked when considering donating to a charity:

  • What is the name, address and phone number of the organization?
  • Is the organization registered to solicit donations by the Michigan Attorney General’s office? What is the registration number?
  • How much of my donation will actually be used for the charity’s purpose?
  • What’s going to happen to my donation?
  • Is my donation tax deductible?
  • Can I use the internet to donate? 

In addition, the AG office suggests consumers BEWARE of the following! Bills or invoices received when you have not donated to that charity…do not respond. Charities that provide Evasive answers to specific questions about the charity. Words making up a charity’s name that closely resemble a more well-known charity. Charities who do not Allow you not to think about your donation but to donate immediately. Charities’ Refusal to answer questions about where your money will go or to provide a receipt. Charities’ Emotional pleas to get you to feel guilty about not contributing. 

Learn more about scams at Michigan State University Extension and MI Money Health. If you have fallen victim to a scam or wish to sign up for email scam alerts, you can contact the FTC.

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