Charity Fraud Awareness Week: Avoid donating to a fake charity

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We’re entering the months when people are feeling a bit more generous.

Coincidentally, it’s also Charity Fraud Awareness Week – a good time to think about who you want to give to and where that money is actually going.

According to NC Attorney General Josh Stein, “As people start to give more money, the scammers come out of the woodwork to try to steal more money.”

He says his office has received 50-plus complaints about charity scams this year, totally nearly $50,000.

“We fully anticipate for those numbers to increase the last 3 months of the year.”

When it’s time to give, we know North Carolinians are quick to open their wallets but be careful!

“We strongly recommend giving to charities you know, you have confidence in, will use the money in a way that will make the kind of difference you want.”

One of the websites he recommends is GuideStar.

You can look up a charity’s tax return and find out about assets, salaries, and other expenses.

“The two main complaints we receive are a legitimate charity that uses some paid telemarketer that takes 90% of the dollar you give them, only 10%, 10 cents on the dollar, goes to actually help what you want it to help, the rest just goes to the telemarketer.”

The second complaint is flat-out fraud – a made-up company.

To avoid this, you reach out to the company.

“There are so many scams perpetuated on Facebook where they tell some story that’s really heartrending and you say that’s wrong I want to do something, and they’ll put a GoFundMe page, you have no idea if that’s legitimate or not.”

On social media, you’ve probably seen people asking for donations.

If it’s a crowdfunding campaign, look up the organizer and contact them. If they don’t provide a valid contact number or email - steer clear.

If there’s a link to a charity’s website, go there, and look for that “h-t-t-p-s” to make sure it’s secure.

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