TOPEKA – In light of the devastating hurricane and flooding in Texas and Louisiana, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warns Kansans to be aware of possible scam artists seeking to profit from the generosity of others.
Schmidt warns the public to make sure they are donating to a reputable charity and to specify that a charity uses donations for intended purposes. “When natural disasters strike, it is human nature to offer help,” Schmidt said. “But, please donate wisely to established, legitimate disaster-relief charities.”
Here are a few simple tips for donating, to avoid being scammed:
• Make donations to established organizations with a strong track record of organizing and providing disaster relief.
• Be careful with social media efforts to fundraise for storm victims.
• Initiate the donation yourself, rather than responding to online or phone solicitations. If you wish to make a donation online, go directly to the charity’s website; don’t just click a link to an unknown site.
• Avoid door-to-door solicitors or offers from charities to stop by a consumer’s home to pick up a check. These too could be fraudulent.
• Do not fall prey to high-pressure pitches from solicitors. Legitimate charities allow you time to think about how much — and when — you choose to donate.
• Be wary of charities that ask for alternate forms of payment. Legitimate charities rarely if ever ask you to give by wire transfer.
• Before giving, check out the charity at www.kscharitycheck.org to assess whether it is registered to solicit in Kansas and to see important aspects of its financial filings, including how much of any money you give will be spent on the charity’s overhead expenses rather than going to support the charitable purpose, such as hurricane relief efforts. However, some charities are exempt by law from registration.
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to consumer protection. More information on avoiding charity scams is available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at InYourCornerKansas.org.