It’s the Holiday Season and also the end of the calendar year. During this time of year many of us are also looking for ways to help out others by contributing to charitable organizations. Unfortunately, the scammers don’t stop during the Holiday Season and they are doing their best to take advantage of unsuspecting Ohioans.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office produces a monthly consumer bulletin called the Consumer Alert. This month the bulletin contains a lot of timely information on the warning signs to look for to recognize scammers. In addition, they provide several links to web sites so that you may use to conduct your own investigation on a charity, prior to making a donation.
This month’s bulletin is appropriately captioned “Beware of Scam Charities this Holiday Season”. Some of the warning signs to look for are as follows:
- A charity with a name similar to a well known charity;
- High pressure tactics by a telephone solicitor;
- A caller who is unable to answer questions about the charitable organization;
- An offer of a prize in return for making a donation; and
- A request that a check be made payable to an individual, rather than the organization.
The Bulletin also provides links to several government web sites so that you may conduct your own investigation before making a donation like the Ohio Attorney General , the Internal Revenue Service and Guidestar. Private organizations such as Charity Watch, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau are also good resources to utilize.
Make a resolution to not become a victim this Holiday Season. Do your research before you make a donation.