Carr warns Georgians about fraudulent charities – CBS Atlanta
ATLANTA, Georgia (CW69 News at 10)
Attorney General Chris Carr joins state charity regulators and the Federal Trade Commission in observing International Charity Fraud Awareness Week October 18-22. It is a coordinated campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving.
“All too often, crooks exploit the generosity of Georgian citizens by posing as legitimate charities with the aim of committing financial theft,” Carr warns. âIt is important to understand the warning signs of a fraudulent charity and the best practices to mitigate any potential harm should you ever come across this type of scam. Our office is dedicated to protecting the public and helping Georgians protect their hard-earned money by providing them with the educational resources needed to identify and discern potential scams.
It’s pretty easy for a scammer to make a realistic website, copy a logo, or come up with a name that looks a lot like that of a well-known charity. While some charities are completely bogus, even well-established charities spend varying amounts on donations for the programs they support. Consumers should also be careful when responding to advertisements or posts they see on social media or crowdfunding sites, as these are not always legitimate, even if they have been shared or liked by your friends. It is very important to take the time to thoroughly examine an organization before giving your money to someone.
“Especially as the holiday season dawns, it is important that Georgians are aware of charity scams that will lie and deceive,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. âAs the regulator of state charities, I work hard to protect well-meaning Georgians from scammers looking to take their money. But everyone’s vigilance is the best defense.
Before making a donation:
- Consider donating only to charities you know and trust.
- The following websites can help you determine if an organization is reputable and how likely it is to use your money effectively and efficiently:
- Find out if the charity plans to share your contact details with other charities or marketing companies. This happens commonly, which is why people often receive solicitations from other charities after making a donation. You can review a charity’s donor privacy policies by visiting Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
- Never give out your credit card or bank account information in response to an unsolicited phone call, email, or text message. Instead, ask the person to send you information.
Red flags that may indicate a scam:
- High pressure sales tactics or overly emotional appeals.
- Unsolicited emails – especially from someone claiming to be a victim – asking for your credit card or bank account information.
- Insist that you pay by cash, wire transfer, or gift cards.
- Charities that spring up quickly following a tragedy or natural disaster.
- Organizations that refuse to provide detailed information about their identity, mission, costs, how the donation will be used or proof that the contributions are tax deductible.
- Organizations that use a name that closely resembles that of a better known and reputable organization.
You can report suspicious charities to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Charities Division by calling 470-312-2640 or emailing [email protected], or the Division of Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection by visiting consumer.ga.gov or calling 404-651-8600.