Protect yourself from charity scams

Published 8:58 am Monday, December 16, 2019

Nashville – As you consider end of year contributions to charitable causes, the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General and the Tennessee Secretary of State are providing donation guidelines to avoid charity scams.

Charity scams commonly come in the form of a phone call but can also include email, websites or social media, and text messaging. Signs of a scam may include:

• You are pressured to give right away.

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• You are asked to donate only in cash, wire money, or send gift cards.

• You are asked for personal financial information, like your bank account number.

• The caller refuses to give you proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

• The websites and materials look like a real charity but seem “off”—use incorrect English or misspell words.

“Tennessee is a charitable state and we want to ensure that money intended for a good cause does not go to a scammer instead,” said General Slatery.

Know Where Your Money is Going: Before giving, research the organization and learn more about it, including how much of your donation will go to the charity itself.

Ask About Registration: In Tennessee, a charity must be registered with the Secretary of State Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming.

Document your Donations: Keeping records of your donations will help you be on the lookout for scams that claim you already donated to them.

“Sadly, it’s all too common for scam artists to take advantage of those who want to help others,” said Secretary Hargett. “If you plan to give this holiday season, be an educated consumer and make sure you know who your donation will benefit.”

If you think you have been scammed, you can report it to both state and federal agencies:

Charitable Solicitations Complaint Form:

Federal Trade Commission

For more information, click here: