November 1, 2011 > Safeguard donations
Submitted By State Attorney General's Office
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued a consumer alert on October 21, 2011, advising Californians how to make safe, informed donations this October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at any other time of year.
The following five tips will help avoid "sound-alike" organizations and scam artists that use high-volume donation periods to prey on people's goodwill.
Avoid giving your credit card number to a telephone solicitor. Avoid giving cash to an individual or responding to an e-mail solicitation. Instead, seek out known organizations and give directly by calling the organization, visiting its official website or mailing a check to the listed address.
Research an organization before making a donation by visiting: California Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts (http://oag.ca.gov/charities), Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org), Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org).
Learn about an organization by asking the right questions. Does the organization only support research? Does it fund community health programs? How are donations used? What percentage of donations is used for charitable activities?
Avoid generic claims like "Supports Breast Cancer Programs" and look for a name, label or logo that you recognize and can verify.
Ask the organization not to store your credit card information.
Californians who believe they have been victimized by a fraudulent charitable solicitation should file a complaint with the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts at http://ag.ca.gov/charities.php.
For additional tips on charitable giving, visit http://ag.ca.gov/charities/charit_giving.php.