Ready To Give? Here's How To Avoid Scams

Ready To Give? Here's How To Avoid Scams

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News York State Attorney General Caption News York State Attorney General Caption

It's Giving Tuesday and New York's attorney general has tips on how to be generous without spending your hard-earned cash on a scam.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood released guidelines Tuesday for people to make sure the organizations they're giving to are reputable.

Here are Underwood's tips:

- Take time to research the organization. Make sure you are familiar with the organization, its mission, and its effectiveness before giving. Consult charitiesnys.com to make sure that the organization is registered, and to learn more about its mission and finances. 

- Know where your money will go. Find out from the charity what it will do with your money. Review the charity’s financial reports for information about how it spends donations. 

- Don’t be pressured by telemarketers. If you receive a telephone call from someone asking you to contribute to a charity, you have the right to hang up. Often the caller is a professional fundraiser who is being paid to call you. Don’t fall for pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls or threats. 

- Ask to be put on a "do not call” list. It is not illegal for telemarketers for charities to call telephone numbers on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, but consumers can stop such calls by telling telemarketers not to call them on behalf of specific charities. 

- Be wary of deceptive tactics and emotional appeals. Watch out for charities with names that resemble those of prominent or established organizations. Some charities use names similar to well-known charities in order to confuse donors. Be wary of emotional appeals that talk about problems, but are vague on how donations will be spent. 

- Don’t disclose personal information. Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information over the phone or to an organization you are not familiar with. 

- Donate securely if donating online or via text. Always make sure that you are using secure methods of payment. When donating online, make sure the website is secure and includes "https://" in the web address. Before hitting "send" on a text donation, check the charity’s website or call the charity to make sure contributions by text message are authorized. Some text solicitations are scams. 

- Never give cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity. 

The following websites provide information that help to evaluate charities’ general performance: 

- Charity Navigator – www.charitynavigator.org
- CharityWatch – www.charitywatch.org
- Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance – www.bbb.org
- GuideStar – www.guidestar.org

If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work or that something is a scam, email the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at charities.complaints@ag.ny.gov or call 212-416-8401. 

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