If you are thinking about giving to a charity before the end of the year, you are not alone. Studies show half of charity donations are made between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. And during this busy holiday time, it’s easy to fall victim to scammers who try to take advantage of your generosity.
“Don’t let scammers ruin your holiday spirit!” exclaimed Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Follow these tips to help make sure that your charitable contributions actually go to the cause you support.”
Research. Did you search Oregon DOJ’s NEW online tool — https://justice.oregon.gov/charities — to make sure the non-profit is registered and to review copies of its financial reports? You can also check Charity Navigator and other sites to learn more about the organization.
Review. Some charities will sell your name. Make sure you ask the charity if they plan to sell your name, and always read the fine print.
Reduce. The National Do Not Call Registry does not limit calls by charities, but the Registry does cover telemarketers calling on behalf of charities. Register online at donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you want to register. And while you’re at it, reduce your junk mail by registering with the Mail Preference Service online at dmachoice.org and paying $1.
Understand. Interested in a crowdfunding campaign? Donations made through sites like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe may not be tax-deductible. And unlike public charities, crowdfunding is not regulated or subject to financial reporting and disclosure requirements. There is no guarantee your donation will be spent appropriately.
Initiate. Seek out the organizations that you want to support. Beware of solicitations that look like an invoice or mail from an unfamiliar organization that thanks you for your previous support and asks you to give more. It might be a scam.
Report. If you suspect fraud this holiday season, call the Oregon Department of Justice at 971-673-1880 or file a complaint online at www.oregonconsumer.gov.
In short – give wisely this holiday season. The vast majority of charities do excellent work. However, there are some that take advantage of donors’ good intentions. For more information on how to donate confidently to worthy and well-run organizations, visit the Oregon Department of Justice’s Charitable Activities Section online at https://www.doj.state.or.us/charitable-activities/.