Missouri consumers are inundated with requests to give to charitable organizations, especially during the holiday season.
These charities and their pro fundraisers use the phone, face-to-face contact, email, and social media to solicit and obtain donations.
Scammers claiming to represent legitimate nonprofit or charitable organizations and persons also use these same solicitation methods to deceive consumers to take advantage of their goodwill.
The Missouri Attorney General wants to you to know how to make sure that your donation ends up where it’s needed the most.
The following is a checklist you can use when you are contacted by anyone soliciting donations from you this holiday season and beyond:
• Do not give to a charity that contacts you by phone. Request all information regarding the charity be sent to you in writing prior to making any donation.
• Ask how much of your contribution goes towards paying for overhead versus how much will go directly to the charity activities you wish to support. Also ask if the charity uses a professional fundraiser and if so, what percentage of your donation the professional fundraiser keeps.
• If a charity claims to support a local organization, call the organization to verify that statement.
• Make any contributions by check made payable to the charity. It is a more secure method than cash.
• Do your research about the organization before you make a donation.
The best way to donate is to identify the causes you want to support, then research to find the best non-profits in that field. You can research non-profits on these websites: the Missouri Attorney General Check-a-Charity, the Better Business Bureau, Guidestar, and Charity Navigator.
If you think you’ve been a victim of a charity scam or if a fundraiser has violated Do Not Call rules, file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-392-8222 or online.