Thousands of charitable organizations are registered in Kansas, and many of them rely on the generosity of Kansans during the holiday season. Legitimate charities engage in a wide variety of important work that helps our communities stay vibrant and strong.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has sent out a message warning people that scammers are out there who may appear to be non-profit organizations but whose real purpose is to take advantage of their generosity.
“Be careful,” he said, “and if you are solicited by telephone, e-mail, or direct mail by somebody claiming to be a charity, be skeptical. Scammers posing as charities will often target people by telephone solicitation. They may use a name or title that sounds similar to a legitimate organization and ask for the donation to be made on the phone by giving them your bank or credit card number.”
He said people should never be afraid to tell the solicitor they need some time to think about it and ask for a physical address to send the donation. They may also ask for written information about the charity. This will give them time to research the organization and make sure it is legitimate.
“Any legitimate charity will be willing to wait a few days to receive your contribution,” Schmidt said. “Do not allow yourself to be pressured into making a donation.”
He also encouraged individuals to call the Consumer Protection Division of his office at (800) 432-2310 if they suspect a scam or are concerned about whether an organization is operating lawfully in Kansas.
He advised people to check into charities before giving to make sure they are registered with the state, to find out how much of each dollar they give will actually support the cause, and to make sure the organization is in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service.
“The best way to avoid charity scams and to eliminate uncertainty about how your donation will be used is to give to local, familiar organizations with which you have a personal relationship,” Schmidt said. “If you do a little research before you give, you will rest comfortably knowing your donations are put to good use.”