Think before you donate
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), remind consumers to do their research on charities, before making a contribution this holiday season.
“During the holidays, people are more vulnerable to charity scams,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator of the DATCP’s Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. “There are many simple ways you can protect yourself from scammers and make sure you are donating to a legitimate charity.”
“With a little research and a few precautions, you can help ensure your donations go to organizations that are genuinely serving others,” agreed Patti Epstein, administrator of the DFI’s Division of Corporate and Consumer Services.
Consumers can protect themselves from charity scams with the following tips:
• Review the DFI’s webpage on charitable organizations, which includes tips for donors and a database of state-registered organizations.
• Visit the DATCP’s website for more information when making charitable donations.
• Research charities atcharitynavigator.org or give.org.
• Avoiding phone calls that ask the donor to make an immediate donation. Take time to ask the caller for information about the organization, whether the donation is tax-deductible and if a receipt will be issued. Don’t feel pressured by emotional appeals or urgent requests – a reputable charity will appreciate the donation just as much if the time is taken to first do homework.
• Check websites, emails and texts. Watch for imposter websites, by checking the spelling of the charity’s name and web address. Do not click on emails, respond to text messages or share information with senders you do not know.
• Write a check out to the organization (not an individual) or use a credit card.