Many citizens find that the Holiday Season is their time to donate to charitable causes.
If you are planning on donating to a charity this holiday season, make sure to do your research so that you know your contribution will be well spent.
Although most charitable organizations use donations wisely, some scammers are out to take advantage of consumers’ hearts and wallets. Protect yourself by finding out if the charity is legitimate and contacting the organization first. It is also a great time to donate locally to charities in and around our own community.
Next, find out how much the charity spends on administrative expenses, fundraising, programs and services. Several independent organizations have compiled financial information on charities, especially those that conduct nationwide solicitation campaigns. For a list of these organizations visit the Indiana Attorney General’s web-site at Indiancomsumer.com.
Know that many charitable organizations use professional solicitors to raise money on their behalf, which can significantly reduce the amount of your donation the charity will actually receive.
Below are more guidelines to follow for safe charitable giving:
- Ask the caller for written information on the charitable organization, including the charity's name, address, telephone number, mission and details on how your donation will be used.
- Watch out for charities with similar sounding names. Some unscrupulous charities use names that are very similar to those of respected organizations to scam consumers.
- Do not click on pop-up solicitations or reply to emails asking for donations. These are likely phishing scams.
- Know that under Indiana law, you have the right to cancel a pledge prior to making a contribution.
- It is ALWAYS safe to donate directly to the charity of your choice by sending them a check for a specific purpose, for example the Salvation Army for the Food Pantry. This insures that the charity will use it for that purpose and your intention.
- Always make contributions by credit card or check and payable to the charitable organization, not to the solicitor. Never wire money or use a pre-paid debit card to make a donation.
As always if you feel that you have been scammed or someone is attempting to cheat you please contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski 873-1461 ext. #333 or email KACOP@Emichigancity.com.