TOPEKA – (October 21, 2019) – To commemorate International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, October 21-25, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is reminding consumers of the resources available to prevent charity scams and consumer victimization.
“One of the core missions of our office is to protect Kansas consumers,” Schmidt said. “During International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, we are making a special effort to remind consumers of the ways they can protect themselves from charity scams and what to do if they feel they’ve been victimized by one.”
Here are some tips to stay safe from charity scams:
- Do your research before you donate. Don’t immediately respond to a telephone, email or mail solicitation. Most charities soliciting in Kansas are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office. You can check to see if the charity is registered and also find out how much of the charity’s funds go to the charitable purpose, rather than to overhead and fundraising expenses, by visiting www.kscharitycheck.org. Please note, many religious organizations are not required to register.
- Watch out for names that sound alike. Scammers often make their organizations’ names sound very similar to other well-known veterans’ charities.
- Ask questions to find out where your donations go. Ask for written information, including how much of the money raised is actually used for charitable purposes and how much will end up in the hands of the professional fundraiser.
- Be careful with telemarketers requesting contributions. Oftentimes, the telemarketer keeps a substantial portion of the donation.
- Do not be pressured into making a contribution or a pledge. Real charities will always be happy to take your money a couple days or even a couple weeks after they first make contact with you, so take time to do your research. High pressure appeals that claim a need is “urgent” are often a warning sign of a scam.
International Charity Fraud Awareness Week is a coordinated campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving. Last year marked the first year of involvement for U.S. partners, when the Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of State Charities Officials, state charities regulators across America and other international groups joined the Charities Commission for England & Wales, which has hosted its own event for many years, in launching the international effort.
For more tips on how to stay safe when making charitable contributions, or to report a suspicious charity, visit the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.